If you can’t code and you work in finance, you risk being pushed out by those who can. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon. Slowly, surely, the need for coding skills in a variety of languages, including Python, is percolating throughout the operations of finance institutions.
It’s a trend that’s visible in decisions by banks such as Citi, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to encourage their junior traders and investment managers to learn how to code in Python. But it’s also a trend that’s visible in banks’ job ads, which increasingly list coding as a prerequisite… even in jobs far removed from the ‘engineering’ coal face.
At Goldman Sachs, for example, the product controllers who prepare daily profit and loss accounts for the bank’s trading desks now need to be familiar with Python alongside Excel and VBA. At Bank of America, aspiring New York-based risk managers in the markets business need Python proficiency alongside markets knowledge. Coding skills have come to the middle office, in other words.
They’re already in the front office. Quantitative finance professionals in banks’ systematic trading and ‘strats’ teams have needed coding knowledge for a long while, and current job ads suggest coding requirements are bleeding into less likely trading jobs, too. Morgan Stanley is currently looking for a New York flow derivative trader with “very strong programming skills,” while Citi wants a senior trader in single stocks exotics trading whose experience must include at least two years’ use of programming languages in order to the build risk management tools integral to the role.
What about investment banking division (IBD) jobs (in M&A or corporate finance), which are surely immune from the relentless march of the coders? Yes, those without coding knowledge risk being edged out there, too. Banks aren’t advertising their IBD internships and graduate programs in the U.S. and Europe yet, but Deutsche is already looking for next year’s trainee bankers in Australia, and it wants students there with experience of coding in C++, Python or VBA. In a global world, this is sure to catch on elsewhere.
The message is clear: if you can’t code, more and more banking and finance jobs will be closed to you soon. But for coders, finance IT offers some lucrative potential.
This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.