Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

"There is pretty much no grad coming in now who doesn't know how to code"

Not long ago, students joining investment banks' graduate programs were specialists in finance and economics and busy studying the CFA Level 1 exam to get ahead. Now, they are more likely to be found learning Python in the evenings. 

"There is pretty much no grad coming in now who doesn't know how to code," said Elly Hardwick, UBS's new chief digital officer at today's Women of Silicon Roundabout conference in London. "I don't think any organisation can set a business strategy now without technology being a part of it," she added. 

The inflow of technically literate graduates is spurring existing staff to upskill. Speaking at the same conference, Ciara Quinlan, head of electronic principal trading for rates, FX and credit at UBS, said plenty of the banks' existing traders and salespeople are taking data science courses offered by the bank, presumably in an effort to remain relevant.

An electronic engineer with a PhD in digital processing, Quinlan said she herself initially only planned to work in banking for two years, but is still in the industry 12 years later. There's been a noticeable change in banking culture since the financial crisis, she added: "The culture was very aggressive and male...[the financial crisis] cleared out a lot of that culture...those people don't work in banking now and that behaviour isn't tolerated."

As the cognitive diversity in banking has increased, Quinlan said banks are looking beyond archetypal loud salesman-types. "People are waking up and realising that the quiet person in the corner might have the most innovative idea."

Before joining UBS in February 2019, Hardwick spent two years as head of innovation at Deutsche Bank and two years in strategy at Thomson Reuters. "I am not a technologist,' she said. Instead, Hardwick says she spent time in banks, data vendors and start-ups, and understands the application of technology in finance.  As the new generation of graduate coders matures, the Hardwicks of the future may need to code too.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.) 

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Sr. Business Analyst - Hedge Fund
Oakridge Staffing
New York, United States
Head of Data Analytics
New York, United States
Selby Jennings
Manager - IT Audit
Selby Jennings
Jersey City, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.