Rust: Better Programming Language Than C++ for Finance, Tech Jobs?

While there are thousands of jobs globally for people who can program in C++, there are far fewer for programmers in Rust. However, Rust has been rising in popularity, thanks to its simplicity and developer fan-base; for example, it ranked as a most-loved programming language in Stack Overflow’s 2020 developer survey. 

And that’s despite some uncertainty over the language’s future!

It’s undeniable that demand for those skilled in the language has risen in recent years. The chart below shows the growth in U.S. job postings citing the language since 2010; from virtually nothing 10 years ago (when the language was created), at least 200 roles a month now ask for Rust-related skills.

As the chart below shows, the main recruiters of Rust programmers in the past year in the U.S. have been tech firms such as Amazon and consulting firms such as Accenture. There are also some finance positions; JPMorgan, for example, is in the ranking, but only in 12th place (the bank has recently released a raft of ads for Rust developers to work on its new Blockchain initiative). 

But compared to C++, opportunities for Rust developers in finance are tiny. JPMorgan advertised 908 C++ jobs over the period it advertised 24 Rust jobs. Goldman Sachs, which advertised no Rust jobs in the U.S. in the past 12 months (according to data from Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes job-posting data from across the country), posted 610 roles looking for C++ programmers. Plenty of tech and quant recruiters in finance say they’ve never come across demand for Rust candidates; by comparison, C++ creates a “never ending conveyor belt” of roles in banks and hedge funds, according to one.

And yet, there’s plenty of interest in Rust, particularly for low latency high speed trading jobs on the buy-side, as well as for systematic trading roles within investment banks’ equities divisions.  

Olly Thompson, an electronic trading systems recruiter at GQR Global Markets in London, said that demand for expertise in the language is already rising, particularly on the buy-side. “Rust is becoming the new C++ in finance. Firms that consider themselves ahead of the curve, like tech-driven hedge funds or high frequency trading firms, are increasingly using Rust instead of C++.”

He added: “It’s seen as an overall better language, and instead of updating legacy systems to the newest version of C++, some firms are simply deciding to build a greenfield platform in Rust instead.”

Thompson says some millennial developers who’ve started in the tech sector are insisting on “Rust or nothing,” and refusing to work on financial services systems in C++ that they consider antiquated by comparison. However, given the comparative shortage of Rust roles, only extreme purists would take this approach. “There are very few pure Rust developers. Most are C++ developers who are learning Rust on the side,” Thompson said. 

A modified version of this article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.