As the finance industry is increasingly relying on technology to create tools and applications, develop algorithms, and model data, there has been a growing demand for finance professionals who have the skills to better understand and use this tech.
Financial technology, or “fintech,” has emerged from the use of these innovative technologies to better compete with traditional methods of delivering financial services, creating a range of new coding career paths in the process.
We’re going to explore the benefits of learning to code for finance professionals as well as the potential use cases for these new skills.
Where and When is Programming Useful in Finance?
Whether designing software, developing algorithms, or troubleshooting technical issues, programming is a critical part of operations at any financial institution. From the apps you use to do your banking to the development and maintenance of highly complex electronic trading systems, the world of finance runs on programming.
What Does a Financial Programmer Do?
Financial programmers develop, implement, and maintain the software systems that drive the finance and banking industries. They play an important role in enabling these businesses to manage their data, perform complex calculations, and automate many of their processes.
While their specific responsibilities may vary from job to job or company to company, their projects may include risk management, pricing tools, trading algorithms, and database management.
Where Do Financial Programmers Work?
Financial programmers typically work directly for financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, credit card companies, brokerage firms, or insurance companies.
However, they may also work for businesses that provide third-party software solutions to the finance industry or for consulting firms specializing in supporting the public and private financial sectors.
There’s also a rapidly growing field of fintech jobs that leverage newer technologies like blockchains, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. These careers are a great example of the opportunities that present themselves when someone with a finance background learns to code.
Types of Finance Coding Jobs
From software development at a traditional financial institution to cutting-edge fintech in decentralized finance, there are plenty of finance coding jobs to choose from. These are just a few examples.
1. Crypto Trading Bot Developer
A crypto trading bot developer creates and maintains software systems that automate buying and selling cryptocurrencies on exchanges. These sophisticated bots are designed to calculate risks and execute trades based on predefined rules and algorithms with minimal human oversight.
Crypto markets operate 24/7, so these bots have become a popular way to lighten the load for retail and institutional investors.
Knowledge of the markets and familiarity with trading algorithms is essential in this line of work. And because these bots rely on application programming interfaces (APIs) to interact with exchanges, prospective developers should focus on learning how to access and use APIs as well as studying programming languages like Python and Java.
2. Quant Developer
A quantitative, or “quant,” developer works on designing and implementing mathematical models to solve problems in the financial industry, often working alongside analysts and software engineers at an investment bank, hedge fund, or asset management firm.
This typically involves using programming languages and software tools to create algorithms and simulations that can be used to analyze data and make predictions about financial markets, along with more technical tasks like optimizing and maintaining programming libraries or implementing analytic systems.
While quant developers are expected to have a broad understanding of the different financial markets they’ll be working in, development is at the heart of this job.
Depending on the role, proficiency in Java, C++, C#, or Python will be essential. Database interaction is also a key component of the job, so it’ll be important to be familiar with a query language like SQL. You can also count on frequently using mathematical and statistical software like R and MATLAB.
3. Forex Algo-Trading Python Developer
Foreign exchange, or forex, represents the single biggest and most liquid market on the planet, so it’s no surprise there has been an explosion in the popularity of rule-based and AI-based algorithms meant to increase trading time and improve trading decisions.
Using Python, developers write scripts, design algorithms, and implement modules to automate forex trading. Like the crypto trading bot developers, this job also requires knowledge of APIs.
4. DeFi Developer
A DeFi (short for decentralized finance) developer is a programmer who specializes in developing decentralized finance applications. These applications are built on blockchain networks, such as Etherium, and allow users permissionless access to financial services in a decentralized and secure manner.
DeFi developers typically have expertise in a range of topics, including blockchain technology, creating smart contracts, and fundamental financial concepts such as liquidity, margin trading, and interest rates.
They may work on projects such as creating decentralized exchanges, building lending and borrowing platforms, or developing other highly specialized financial tools and applications.
5. Blockchain Developer
A blockchain developer is a programmer who specializes in developing systems and software that use blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a decentralized technology. It uses a distributed digital ledger to note transactions that take place across many computers, making it possible for the data recorded on the ledger to be transparent, secure, and tamper-proof.
Core developers are responsible for the actual architecture of the blockchain systems and for monitoring the network. Software developers may build and maintain applications, handle design elements, and handle client-side, server-side, or full-stack programming duties.
Blockchain developers typically have expertise in areas such as cryptography, data structures, and peer-to-peer networking.
What Skills Does a Financial Programmer Need?
Most financial programmers should start off by familiarizing themselves with one or more of the industry-leading programming languages: Python, Java, or C++. Financial programming relies on many of the same skills as any other development role, but these languages will be valuable assets.
C++ Financial Programming
C++ is a go-to option when high speed and low latency are essential, which is why it’s ideal for the kind of high-volume trading many financial institutions deal in. There’s really no sign of this changing any time soon, especially as algorithmic trading becomes increasingly popular.
Some top experts predict that C++ financial programming will still be around 100 years from now, so while it might be one of the more challenging languages to learn for some, it’s a good bet for those who want to work at the juncture of finance and coding.
Python and Finance
Python is one of the most popular, accessible, and beginner-friendly programming languages used for finance coding projects, and even major players like Google use it as an official back-end programming language.
It’s an especially popular choice for doing quantitative analysis, pricing, and financial modeling and forecasting, but its versatile Pandas framework also makes it a useful tool for importing financial data.
Java has been a top-pick programming language across the financial industry for over 25 years, thanks to its flexibility, security, and portability.
Java’s “write once, run anywhere” philosophy ensures programs written with this language will run on any Java-enabled device with no setup required, and it can be used to program everything from mobile banking apps to sophisticated trading algorithms.
Java is highly modular and easily scalable, and it’s a gold standard for the banking industry since its secure design gives developers peace of mind when dealing with sensitive financial data. If you’re interested in taking on finance coding projects at traditional financial institutions, learning Java is a no-brainer.
Hone Your Skills with App Academy
If you’re looking to break into the tech industry or step up your skills and stand out from the crowd in your current field, App Academy can help. We offer comprehensive full-time software engineering courses and part-time coding bootcamps designed to help people learn to code and land new jobs as software engineers. Our proven curriculum and experienced instructors can help you learn the skills you need to take your career to the next level.