In today’s increasingly automated financial sector, computer skills are more useful than ever. The summer holidays are a great time to consider investing in your IT skills to make yourself an even more valuable asset to firms, who now receive applications from many candidates offering far more than just decent Excel skills.
Although it is by no means a requirement for most jobs in finance (unless applying to something directly tech related), a browse through linked-in vacancies will quickly reveal an increasing number of job applications asking about any experience in coding languages such as Python, SQL and R (among others). The ability to code has a lot of scope to increase job efficiency and improve performance. During my internship last summer at one of Europe’s largest hedge funds, a senior trader told me that the greatest favor I could do myself would be to learn the ‘R’ programming language.
The link below includes examples of how coding can be of benefit in the financial sector:
Even if you do not end up using a coding language you decide to learn in a new job, coding languages and tools wire your brain for problem solving, and can be a great mental workout as they target both the logical and creative parts of your brain. This can help you to structure your thoughts into clear commands to obtain the results you need. Once you adopt this analytical mindset through learning one language, you can always learn others later and significantly improve your employability.
Learning to code can sound daunting, especially if you have never done it before, but there are ample resources available to teach yourself enough to be able to gain a decent understanding without paying to go on an expensive course.
There are several guides to coding available for free Kindle app download on Amazon. While it is unlikely these will turn you into a coding master, firms will likely be happy just to see a decent understanding and interest that can be built on. You can also find YouTube video tutorials and courses on websites such as Khan Academy and Coursera.
Like many things, 'little and often' is key. Practicing for just 20 minutes a day will make a huge difference over the course of a year, and could be the edge your CV needs.
If this is something you are interested in you should definitely give it a go as there are so many learning resources available.
I hope you have an enjoyable (and productive) remainder of the holidays!