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Being big on GitHub isn't going to get you a tech job in a bank

As we've reported in the past banks like Goldman SachsJP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have shared code on GitHub. Goldman Sachs is even releasing some of its SecDB code on the open source site, but this doesn't mean banks are big believers. Predictably, there's not even a sniff of anyone working in a bank's technology team among GitHub's biggest contributors. Instead, Git's top 100 users are mostly technology entrepreneurs or employees of big tech firms.

GitHub doesn't release its own list of top contributors, but you can see them all (via a project on GitHUB) here at  'commits.' A commit is defined as a public contribution to a GitHub which involves a revision to a file. Measured this way, the biggest GitHUB user in the world is Ilya Kanto, a Russian Java trainer who has never worked in large corporate, let alone a large investment bank.

This isn't to say there aren't people working at major corporates on the list. - Multiple Google and Facebook employees turn up in the top 100, including Justin Spahr-Summers, a senior programmer at Facebook in London who previously worked for GitHub itself. But banking technologists just aren't there - in either a private or a professional capacity.

Of course, there's a reason for this - and Wes McKinney - the creator of the popular Pandas data analysis library and former Two Sigma developer identifies why this is in his blog. - People who are spending "their time supporting their families through paid work rather than spending extracurricular time doing unpaid open source work," don't feature on GitHub's leaderboard, says McKinney. "Having a respectable GitHub pedigree is only one way to get a feel for someone's value as an engineer," he adds.

This is significant, because McKinney - who is now a director at Ursa Labs, an innovation lab for open source data science tools - is the closest thing the finance industry has or has had to a power user. McKinney himself ranks 112th on the Commits list. There's no one from finance above him.

If you're spending every spare moment on GitHub in the hope that banks will be impressed by your contribution, this might be something to bear in mind. While banking technologists certainly use GitHUB both at work and privately (time permitting), they're not all over it in the same way technologists in other industries are. People famously like to hire in their own image, and big GitHub users aren't in bank technologists' reflection.

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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.)

Photo by Caleb White on Unsplash


AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ca
    Caleb White
    5 January 2020

    lol that's me in the photo cool

  • Bo
    26 November 2019

    Writing it as GitHUB won’t either

  • Pa
    Paul Bev.
    11 November 2019

    Where is the sh** article emoticon?

  • Fl
    Flip Daze
    9 November 2019

    I’d disagree very strongly with that

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