Within the banking and finance sector, you’ll find a wide range of opportunities for IT specialists. From programming financial software and applications, to website development and maintenance, this diverse industry relies heavily upon new technology in all facets of its business – and employs more computing experts than virtually any other.
There are over one million people currently working in the UK financial services industry in more than 35,000 companies (UK international financial services - the future, HM Treasury, 2009). These include retail and online banks, pension providers, insurance and actuarial firms, and organisations such as supermarkets that have diversified into providing financial services and products.
Technology enables each of these organisations to run their business efficiently. IT is used on a massive scale to support all data management, interactions and transactions and is central to providing services through a range of channels, including internet and telephone banking, cash machines and over the counter in high street branches.
Although London is the focal point of the UK financial services industry, it accounts for just under one-third of overall industry jobs. There are also thriving financial districts in other large cities: search for jobs in Manchester, jobs in Leeds, jobs in Bristol, jobs in Edinburgh, jobs in Glasgow, jobs in Cardiff and jobs in Belfast.
Many of the organisations in the UK financial services industry are part of international groups or have clients based outside of the UK. Opportunities to work overseas may be available to those who make their careers with global firms.
The work environment in the banking and finance sector is very fast-paced and dynamic, often with long hours and crucial deadlines. To balance this out, you’ll also find attractive salaries and bonus structures, as well as opportunities to work on multi-national projects.
IT specialists with a flair for development and with a strong technical knowledge of languages such as PHP, .NET, Java or similar codes, could look at developing and programming financial software and applications, for example.
Individuals with an interest in IT support may prefer to explore infrastructure, such as the provision and maintenance of servers, networks, data storage, disaster recovery and desktop terminals.
Even the various financial institutions are themselves consumers, purchasing the latest applications from financial software houses. These software houses employ IT specialists to regularly develop new programmes and applications, as well as liaising with clients and selling the product.
And an IT specialist with business or marketing experience and qualifications can also diversify into managing and implementing aspects such as e-promotions, e-brochures and direct marketing solutions.
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