Three hot tech skills that will get you into JP Morgan, Citi and other banks in Singapore

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The most sought-after (and secure) jobs within global banks in Singapore are increasingly found within their technology teams. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), meanwhile, recently identified several traditional roles that are most at risk from automation, and advised people working in them to retrain and take on technology-related skills.

If you want to work in banking technology in Singapore, you’ll want to know which specific programming languages are most popular right now.

To find out, we looked through the careers websites of global banks, and found out what languages are in demand within the job descriptions of their Singapore technology vacancies. We then eliminated several languages that appear in fewer than five jobs across all the firms (PHP, Perl, Scala, Swift and R, for example, didn’t make the cut). That left us with seven languages that are mentioned (as compulsory or desirable) within current job advertisements, as shown in the chart below.

Banks with fewer than five Singapore jobs across these languages were then eliminated, hence Morgan Stanley and HSBC aren’t included in our chart (the latter does far more of its development work in Hong Kong).

Java is the most popular programming language listed in current jobs at the eight global banks we looked at. Demand for Java developers has increased over the past few months as Citi (which has 29% of Java-related roles across the eight firms), UBS and Standard Chartered have announced they are building new Singapore-based FX pricing engines.

That Python came in second place (the language appears in 28% of the vacancies we examined) isn’t surprising. Used primarily for pricing, risk management and trade management platforms – all important sectors in Singapore banking – Python has progressively become one of the go-to programming languages at investment banks globally, replacing Java in many instances. And its importance extends beyond banks’ tech teams – Citi, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are encouraging junior traders and investment managers to learn how to code in Python

If you already know Java, it’s apparently easier to pick up Python than it is the other way round. Having both these two dominant coding languages under your belt could potentially ensure you remain in demand in Singapore banking over the next few years.

C++, in third place, is the other major language in our chart – it’s needed or desirable in 13% of Singapore-based roles that require programming expertise. Candidates who can code in C++ are in short supply because banks prefer C# and Java for their main trading platforms and Java is the dominant language taught in computer science degrees, Peter Barker, a senior director at Gravitas Recruitment, told us previously. But banks still need C++ within the newly hot area of low-latency exchange connectivity.

As shown in the table below, two global banks in Singapore are doing most of the hiring across the seven programming languages: Citi has 35% of total vacancies, while JP Morgan has 30%. Citi boasts the largest total headcount of any foreign bank in Singapore, and it uses the Republic as an Asian hub for tech development.

Similarly, Singapore is a centre for emerging technology (including robotics, machine learning and chatbots) at JP Morgan. More than a third of the firm’s appoximately 3,000 local employees work in tech-related roles. This year JP Morgan expects to grow the team working on Project Ubin, an MAS-driven initiative that promotes distributed ledger technology for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.

Image credit: JacquesPALUT, Getty

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