The tech jobs that banks can't fill

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If you have particular technical skills, then you’ll have a leg up when you throw your hat into the ring for a banking job – and not just for back-office roles. There are also plenty of open middle- and front-office jobs right now that require technology expertise, many of which banks are struggling to fill.

Data science is hot

Above all, data scientists are the most sought-after candidates on Wall Street, especially those with experience working in predictive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“We’re looking for talent more on the technical side than the banking side,” says Vuk Magdelinic, the co-founder/CEO of Overbond, a fintech firm that digitizes bond origination and issuance. “Data science is the most in-demand skill based on what’s going on in finance.”

S&P Global is acquiring Kensho Technologies, a developer of data analytics software, data visualization systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence, for $550m – the largest AI M&A deal in history.

“The Kensho acquisition exemplifies that demand – half a billion dollars for a startup with only three and a half years of existence,” Magdelinic says. “That’s astonishing and illustrates how disruptive AI applications are.

“That’s the number-one trend in financial services and capital markets right now,” he says.

Developers familiar with open source are hot

Dylan Gomez, a principal consultant at Selby Jennings, says that banks are looking to hire candidates with experience using modern open-source technologies for deep learning and neural networks. However, hedge funds can often outbid them for such talent, plus tech firms are competing for those same types of candidates, making those seats hard for banks to fill.

There are front-office positions requiring an algorithm developer skill set that are difficult for banks to fill. Middle- and back-office can be even more challenging to fill with young top talent, because banks are competing with offers that may be higher at hedge funds and that include massive amounts of stock from tech companies.

In response, compensation on Wall Street is trending upward for the right candidates.

“Banks are changing their compensation bands and structures to compete with hedge funds and big tech firms,” Gomez says. “Experience in the machine learning space and big data, that type of skill set is extremely sought-after, but there’s still a strong deference toward computer science."

Front-office algo positions are highly paid even at a more junior range. In fact, banks are giving candidates right out of a Master’s program in a STEM or computer science program base salaries in the $110k-to-$130k range.

A Ph.D. coming into a bank as an associate, at the top end, could get a $140k base salary.

The compensation band for vice presidents with these in-demand skill sets range from $160k to $200k.

“Where they’re having flexibility is having sign-on and performance bonuses that can compete, as well as offering interesting roles,” Gomez says. “Some banks have a hard and fast stop for $200 on the base for a VP, but they have more flexibility on the bonus.

“That comp range is skewed toward the bonus at higher ranks,” he says. “If you’re over the $250k mark, then bonuses will be paid out in cash and stocks.”

Knowledge of C#, C++, Java and Python still comes in handy, but React, Angular/AngularJS, Java 8, kdb/q/kdb+, Apache Spark and Apache Kafka are a few more open source technologies that financial services firms are using more often

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