Check out these IT roles that are going like hotcakes in the City
A business analyst is the interface between business and IT function who assesses and determines how information flows around an organisation. Business process management, or BPM, is flavour of the month in most banks as they seek to make processes more efficient and cheaper, making BAs hot property.
To land a job in the Square Mile or Canary Wharf, it helps to have experience of the sector or at least of working in a big organisation. Business analyst is a more frequent first job as well as second or third, particularly if you have some kind of business degree.
City spin: In financial services, this role is about personality and character, too. A business analyst needs to be comfortable speaking to everyone from dealers on the trading floor to actuaries on the top floor.
Salary: £45,000 - £75,000+
These brilliant people managers and multi-taskers work with heads of business, users and suppliers to agree achievable goals given finite resources and budget. PMs in financial services tend to favour agile computing methods over other formal methodologies because iterative development processes bring products to market a lot faster.
Essential skill sets includes strong communication and leadership skills to ensure that stakeholders understand their specific brief, stick to their delivery schedules and operates within budget.
City spin: In this sector more than any other, making change happen has to be in your DNA because markets and products change constantly and rapidly. Fluency in financial business language is a must.
Salary: £50,000 - £95,000+
Banks are all about speeding up the numbers of trades they can process per second, and profits depend upon the speed and reliability of their data networks. Fine-tuning networks and scaling up capacity in a secure way is a black art that commands a decent salary and respect for network engineers.
As well as being in love with routers, firewalls and switches a methodical approach is a must, as is a keen understanding of the catastrophic implications of failure in this environment. Many network-related jobs are with specialist suppliers as banks increasingly outsource their infrastructure and support.
City spin: “Banks hire the crème de la crème of network administrators and architects. Specialism and deep product knowledge count here, rather than being a generalist.”
City firms tend to do a lot of in-house development because of their specialist needs: programming provides the option of a very good technical career without having to become a manager to progress. But you’ll need to offer a handful of languages - object languages such as understanding C++, C#, and web flavours such as Java and PHP while old die-hard mainframe languages such as Assembler and Cobol retain their place.
There's no room for the programmer who merely hacks out code to a specification; everyone has to bring something else to the table such as suggesting how to save money for the bank by coding in a different way.
City spin: You are likely to learn the realities of real-time coding in an electronic trading environment, you may even be required to develop an understanding of the intricacies of developing a pricing system which requires up to 80 inputs to value a complex financial product.
Security consciousness is heightened in financial institutions in order to satisfy not only the regulator but the customer and the shareholder. Levels of cyber crime are rocketing and banks are prime targets. The word security therefore prefixes a host of job titles including officer, engineer, analyst, architect and manager, creating a long and potentially lucrative career ladder to climb.
If you’ve got the ‘nose’ and persistence for security, the jobs of systems and network administration are good routes into security role. You need to take exams and to qualify for accreditation such as CISSP and CISM as well.
City spin: Banks want to hire the best technical specialists and accreditation is a vital measure of experience. Simple knowledge is insufficient.
Salary: £55,000 – 100,000+
A bank is only as good as its IT so no surprises that this sector runs some of the best and well-remunerated programmes for technology graduates. JP Morgan advertises its technology analyst development programme as placing graduates ‘at the epicentre of the organisation’.
Most financial blue chip firms prefer graduates with a maths, computer science or other science degree as well as technical specialists in areas such as infrastructure, software or information architecture.
City Spin: Natural curiosity and tenacity to see projects through to completion are qualities that help graduates thrive. Creativity, idea generation and vision are also key strengths. But contrary to stereotype, perhaps the most important of all is teamwork.
Salary: Generous. Don’t like to advertise their but generally between £25,000 upwards, depending upon the tier of bank.
IT compliance officer
The push to meet compliance regulations is huge with the Financial Services Authority scrutinising everyone more closely. Because the auditing, tracking and reporting of transaction is so embedded in IT systems, a fair few new roles are coming into the jurisdiction of the IT department including job titles such as compliance officer, business partner and risk manager.
The top job is very much about taking responsibility for corporate governance and commands a huge salary, which probably matches the huge responsibility of ensuring that a bank if above board and complying with the rules from top to bottom.
City spin: People with an understanding of how IT systems work coupled with a methodical auditing brain do well.
Salary: £65,000 - £75,000
Top employers in the City
With thanks to:
Karen Price, CEO, E-skills UK
Mike Kyd, Director at Hays Finance Technology
Read on to: