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Technical Skills That Pays Off Well In the Finance Industry Today

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Computers rule today's world. Gone are the days when you would sit with files and paperwork and stack up on important documents and such.

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Computers rule today's world. Gone are the days when you would sit with files and paperwork and stack up on important documents and such. Sure you would work with files and folders, but that would be over your computer screen or the smartphone.  Do you think the general work environment for software engineers in finance is different from that of software engineers in any other industry? Well, the only difference is that you actually get to sit on the trading floor where you have a desk with no privacy, passing days watching the glory of capitalism. Moreover, there are many other differences especially in terms of culture. For instance, Goldman Sachs has its culture, and it's different from other banks in the same what that Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have different work cultures.

Further speaking about Goldman Sachs, the CEO Lloyd Blankfein raised some eyebrows previous year while saying that the banks are, in essence, technology companies. And around 25% of the staff available there works in technology- more than in any other sector.

The 360° turn in the financial industry
Over the past few years, we all have been witnessing how advancements in technology and automation are disrupting some of the traditional roles played by the professionals in the industry. For example, stock picking which used to be a highly coveted skill is now being pushed to the corner as investors are giving up on stock picking. Pension funds, 401(k) retirement plans, and even retail investors are moving towards passive funds that completely run on the auto-pilot mode and automate the entire process of picking stocks based on data and managing the investments in them.

So whether you are in banking, risk management, portfolio management, or any other field of finance, you will need to seek help from reliable financial software development companies like Accenture, TCSPolaris or TatvaSoft who will go through a lot of efforts to make its programming services as convenient as possible. . As the industry becomes more and more automated and technology driven, financial professionals with technical know-how are going to be more in demand. Trust me, the programming world offers many paths that one can choose from.

What programming can help you with?
Programming is just a tool that is used to automate things that we humans could otherwise do on the manual basis. For example, marking all days on which the prices increased after a continuous three-day fall takes quite a long time. With proper programming tools, this entire thing can be done within a day or a two. Apart from this, we can perform these tasks on the repeated basis. All one needs to do is just apply it to a new data set and have the task completed within seconds.

Another important thing about programming that makes our life very easy is the ability to manage and process data. In finance, we have been always dealing with millions of data points to make our decisions and most of the data points are derived from different sources.

Choice of programming tools and languages for finance
  • General purpose programming languages- These include common programming languages such as C, C++, Java, Python, and VBA etc, which have been used extensively in finance software development. C and C++ is something that is aggressively used by quants for developing algorithms, etc, but over the past few years, the wave has been shifting towards Python. I personally feel that the programming language, in particular, has seen maximum adoption in the finance industry. Because of its ease of use and a large number of open source libraries available, the language is loved by some of the largest investment banks and hedge funds.
  • Specialized programming languages- Specialized programming languages such as Haskell, and statistical programming ones such as MATLAB and R programming are considered in this segment. For those who have no idea, Haskell is a functional programming language used with application in several industries and applied in many projects. For example, ABN AMRO used it in a project where they wanted to measure the counterparty risk on portfolios of financial derivatives for their investment banking activities. Whereas, MATLAB and R are statistical languages and it is very important to learn one of these along with a general programming language such as Python.
  • Retail-level languages- Here I am using programming languages that are built into the various financial software. For instance, a technical analysis software has its own programming language. Similarly, a trader's programming language called EasyLanguage allows you to create and modify indicators and trading strategies in TradeStation.
  • Apart from programming languages, you must learn SQL, the language of working with databases. Since a lot of data resides in relational databases, you will need to know SQL to effectively store and retrieve data from the databases.
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