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The six most popular programming languages in Hong Kong banking technology

Programming languages in Hong Kong banking technology

The programming languages you need to know

With banks offshoring some roles to lower-costs markets like India, Hong Kong banking technology jobs aren’t as secure as they once were. If you’re pursuing an IT banking career in Hong Kong, you need to know which skills are still likely to land you a job.

We’ve compared the amount of Hong Kong-based vacancies to the number of local IT candidates on our database across six key programming languages to produce the chart below.

If you know the languages towards the left of the chart your job search could be fairly straightforward as you will face the least competition of all tech candidates. For every job requiring C#, for example, there are a mere four CVs on our database which have C# skills.

HTML5: 0.2 candidates for every available job

As financial institutions in Hong Hong, in particular private banks, invest more in mobile apps and other online customer platforms, HTML5 is the top-ranked language in our chart. While Western markets have a plentiful supply of HTML5 candidates, in Asia demand has only spiked over the past 12 months and talent is suddenly thin on the ground. “A lot of the next-gen banking platforms are now using HTML5 for the front-end,” says Vince Natteri, director of search firm Pinpoint Asia in Hong Kong.

C#: 4 candidates for every available job

Banks in Hong Kong use C# on a large number of projects – particularly data simulations and modelling, but finding people who know the language and have finance-sector experience can still be challenging. There’s a rising demand for candidates who are skillful in C#, especially in investment banks, which have an increasing need for analytics.

C++: 10 candidates for every available job

If you’re skilled in C++, the go-to language for high volume/high frequency trading, you still enjoy a large number of job openings and a moderate amount of competition from other candidates in Hong Kong. “We’re seeing a lot of requirements for low-latency developers and since the best-written C++ program is still faster than the best-written Java program, C++ is more in demand,” says Natteri. “There’s a particular shortage of C++ developers with knowledge of semaphores.”

Java: 17 candidates for every available job

Java has long been a dominant language in investment banking. The downside is that this means there are plenty of skilled Java people in Hong Kong. Java also boasts a high candidate-to-vacancy ratio because some jobs have recently been offshored away from Hong Kong, leaving a glut of candidates on the market. “There are still lots of candidates with Java for historical reasons as there used to be more of a need for it. It’s very versatile but not as efficient as C++ or other object-oriented programming languages. Banks with legacy systems still need Java candidates in high volumes,” says Dean Stallard, regional director of recruiters Hays in Hong Kong.

Python: 18 candidates for every available job

Recruiters say previous Python shortages in Hong Kong have eased over the past year as overseas candidates who know this language have entered the market. However, the number of jobs requiring Python is still on the rise. “It’s an open-source language, which makes it easy to edit and localise code and programs that are shared globally,” says Stallard. “There’s increased demand for Python in the banking sector in Asia since firms want to share and edit applications with their offices around the world.”

SQL: 28 candidates for every available job

The number of jobs in Hong Kong requesting the database language SQL is high, but plenty of candidates are SQL-proficient. SQL is frequently required as an add-on to other programming languages. Front-office development jobs often demand SQL alongside Java as part of a broad programming skill-set, for example. “Most applications need a database for storage so it’s quite natural to see lots of candidates with SQL skills,” says Natteri from Pinpoint Asia.

Image credit: scyther5, iStock, Thinkstock

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