Top Programming Languages at Banks Include Python, Java

If you have a technology job with a large bank, which coding languages do you need to know? And are they any different to the languages used by developers elsewhere?

Based upon eFinancialCareers’ analysis of current job advertisements at seven big banks (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citi, UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays), there are two main languages banks really want to hire for now: Java and Python. To embellish your CV further, you might also want to learn JavaScript and C++.  

The chart below shows the distribution of languages mentioned in open jobs at major banks globally. Below it, more charts break down languages and banks individually. Keep in mind that Goldman Sachs is currently advertising a disproportionate number of engineering jobs. 

Based on current openings, banks’ demand for programming languages is similar but not identical that of other industries. This year’s GitHub State of the Octoverse report found that JavaScript remains the most popular language globally, followed by Python, Java, PHP, C# and C++.  By comparison, C# is only mentioned in 6 percent of banks’ job openings that request programming languages now, and PHP features in just 2 percent.  

Needless to say, it’s not usually enough to know a single programming language. Most jobs specify multiple languages: you’ll be expected to know Python and Java and C#. However, if you’re new to programming the charts below should at least guide you on where to start. 

Let’s kick off the individual-banks portion of this by looking at Barclays. As you can see, Python is the big winner there:

Then we have Credit Suisse:

Next up: UBS! Java is a big winner here, along with Python:

At Citi, Java is likewise a big presence; also, note how Kotlin (used in Android development) has a small beachhead:

At Morgan Stanley, the programming-language distribution is a little bit more… even. For example, Java and Python dominate, but C++, C, and JavaScript also have a significant presence. There’s also Perl (!), which any longtime developer will tell you earns its moniker of the “Swiss Army chainsaw.”

At JPMorgan, they love their Java:

At Goldman Sachs, we also see a more even distribution of languages, indicating that the firm is working on a wide variety of coding projects:

If you’re a developer interested in breaking into finance, take note of all of these; you clearly can’t go wrong with knowing Python or Java (and a few other languages, including JavaScript, besides).

A modified version of this article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.