Finance IT Wants All the Kotlin Developers

If you can code proficiently in the Kotlin programming language, then this week brought you some very good news: At its 2019 I/O conference, Google announced that it’s going to make Kotlin the preferred language forAndroid app developers. This can only mean that demand for developers who know this language is about to rise by quite a bit.

For neophyte technologists only just coming to grips with Python or Java, Kotlin is a statically-typed programming language from JetBrains, a software vendor with offices in Eastern Europe and Boston. The language’s strength lies in the fact that it’s entirely interoperable with Java, while also being more concise. Google’s initial embrace of then-tiny language in 2017 came as a surprise; its decision two years later to relegate Java to second place seems even more startling.

Investment banks aren’t known for existing at the front of the curve when it comes to software development. If you spend your career creating Java code for a bank or other financial institution, you might therefore risk falling behind in the Kotlin revolution.

Kotlin is, however, finding its way into some areas of the banking world. For example, Citi has Kotlin developers working on a regulatory reporting system and is also looking for similarly-skilled devs for its equity derivatives platform. JPMorgan is looking for programmers to work on its React front-end development library, and Credit Suisse is using the language to help develop its “Giraffe Risk Platform” (which sits in an equities risk area known as “The Zoo”). And Goldman Sachs is looking for Kotlin developers to work on the apps for its Marcus business.

front-office developer at one U.S. bank (who wishes to remain anonymous) says the language is unquestionably becoming a bigger deal. “We develop in Scala and in Kotlin,” he says. “Kotlin is growing and taking market share from Java and actually from Scala as well.”

Because Kotlin interacts fully with Java, it can be used with anything, the developer added: “It’s viewed as a better language than Java. It’s like a strongly typed Python in the Java ecosystem.”

This might be why one Goldman vice president, who currently codes in Java and Javascript, says he’s learning Kotlin in his spare time. The language is only going to get bigger from here, especially if Google is throwing more of its (considerable) weight behind it.

This article was originally published on eFinancialCareers.