Could Scala be the hot skill-set for technologists in 2012?

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We've mentioned previously that some top tier investment banks have been looking to increase the use of comparatively new programming languages, but some recruiters are predicting that the use of Scala could really take off next year.

A number of banks currently use their own proprietary programming languages to develop certain applications, particularly Goldman Sachs, which uses Slang to gain an edge through its electronic trading processes.

The advantages of this is that it's bespoke, but the disadvantages – from a recruitment point of view – is that it limits the range of people you could potentially employ, or requires new hires to undertake training programmes to get them up to speed.

In some ways, the increasing use of Scala is indicative of a move away from this proprietary language and towards a cheaper, more standard skill-set. The suggestion of some recruiters in the IT in finance sector is that 2012 could prove to be a year when demand for this expertise really takes off.

"A number of large banks have already set up projects for 2012 in Scala programming," says James Richmond, sales director at recruiters Cititec. "While they may reduce their requirements in other areas, thus shifting demand and opportunity, there still appears to be plenty of prospects to see some significant growth during Q2 and Q3 of 2012."

As we've mentioned before, some of the larger investment banks – J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America – were already tentatively hiring developers with either Scala or Python expertise.

The reality, however, is that Scala is unlikely to be the only skill-set they ask for when taking on developers to work on these new projects.

Morgan Stanley, for instance, has a few live roles currently where it's looking for knowledge of Scala, or another functional programming language, but is also asking for Java skills because its low-latency trading systems are still written in this software.

"Scala doesn't sit in isolation in this area; concurrency in general will continue to be an area for growth, but it is perhaps one of the more exciting," says Richmond.

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