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Which programming language should you learn? Depends upon the bank you want to work for

If you want to ensure your future employability in finance, you might want to learn how to code. After all, Goldman Sachs already employs 9,000 "engineers" and spent nearly $900m on technology last year; J.P. Morgan employs 50,000 and plans to spend nearly $11bn on technology this year. The numbers are growing, but technology in banking is already huge and investment banks are some of the biggest hirers of programming talent in the UK.

However, you'll need to choose your language carefully. Banks hire programmers in some languages a lot more than others and not every bank is equal. Different banks have different preferences. And if you want to work for a tech firm like Google or Amazon, you'll need to know different languages again.

The (many) charts below depict the number of jobs in each programming language which have been advertised by top employers across the UK over the past 12 months. Based upon data from analytics company Burning Glass, they are for the economy as a whole, not just for finance. Even so, finance firms often come out on top: in combination, banks advertised over 12,000 technology jobs in the UK during the period.

There are some quick conclusions to be drawn from the charts below. The programming language most likely to land you a job with a bank is definitely Java. Banks advertised at least 4,881 Java jobs in the UK last year. Java is followed by Python (2,984 jobs last year). And Python is followed by Javascript, Perl, C# and Scala, all with more than 700 jobs in total. When you get to Swift, R, Ruby and Clojure you're scraping the barrel (eg. there were just 25 Clojure jobs). And there were no jobs at all advertised by big banks looking for programmers in C, Go, Haskell and Pascal. You might want to avoid these if you want to work in finance.

The charts also make banks' coding preferences clear: Goldman Sachs likes Javascript while others don't; Barclays kind of likes R; Citi is ahead when it comes to hiring coders who work in Clojure.

Of course, the charts below are retrospective. Just because Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan didn't seem to need any Haskell coders last year, who's to say they won't need them next year? It will surely be a while, though, before Java coding goes out of fashion.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Hu
    Huw Pendry
    22 August 2018

    Um... Javascript and C# have exactly the same figures?

  • Pa
    Pablo Torre
    15 August 2018

    Would be nice to look at it the other way around... one chart per bank with the languages they are hiring...
    Specially if expanded over time to see the trends

    (i know, I'm asking too much, but could give some really interesting insights)

  • Sa
    Sarah Butcher
    2 August 2018

    Hi ftred. Do you mean you can't see it if you're colour blind? Admittedly lime green isn't the best colour scheme. I will attempt to change it when I get a moment. In the meantime, it's easier to see the results if you actually hover over the charts - this highlights each individual bank and should help you.

  • da
    2 August 2018

    very interesting charts

    would you be so kind to also explain what you meant by UK?

    thank you so much

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