Quants may deal in microseconds, but banking, like the legal profession, is notoriously glacial to change.

Banks, the multi-state and multinational kluges resting on top of decades of infrastructure that they are, can seem the opposite of nimble. And even though they’re quicker than many industries to adopt new tools, their sheer size can put them far from the point of the technological vanguard.

Perhaps this is why Java ($ORCL) still persists among banks as the most popular programming language.

According to job listings data of eight American banks — Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Citigroup, TD Ameritrade, Capital One, and PNC — the programming language that technologized the financial industry still reigns supreme today. In fact, it has more individual listings in job titles than every other popular programming language combined. Python, the language ascendant pretty much everywhere else, is a distant third object-oriented language.


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(This doesn’t mean these developer jobs don’t often require other languages such as SQL. Rather, these are simply the languages specifically listed in the job's title.)

Why the persistence of Java in these job listings? It's partially because of how fast and trustworthy the language has been for the past few decades. Remember: it was handling Big Data before cloud computing, such as AWS and Azure, came along to do that instead.

But given how popular Python has become through its supplanting of Java in coding generally — although just barely — and the fact that it has become the language of choice in fintech startups, it’s also likely that banks, whose IT architecture takes years to complete and years to change, have grandfathered in the language for some time.

Later this month, we'll see if this trend continues, and see how it differs from major companies in other industries, such as technology.

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