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IT in Investment Banking: Graduate Area of Work
Investment banks aren’t all about analysts and associates only. Many IT and computing graduates find their calling in the banking world too!
Once upon a time, typical career pathways that come to mind when talking about investment banking include positions such as analysts and associates before they go on to become vice presidents and directors – most of which will need you to have a finance-related degree in order to succeed at.
However, with digital applications and e-commerce platforms being the sector buzzwords these days, many investment banks are rapidly expanding their technology team to cope with various functions – such as online trading activities and transactions, risk management, gathering of information, client interaction, as well as 24/7 operations – thus making computing and technology graduates highly desirable in this sector.
Graduate technology jobs in investment banking
Depending on the bank’s needs and recruitment policies, graduates can be recruited directly into specific IT roles, where they are trained in the specific skills unique for the position; or rotational programmes with a chance to experience different positions and responsibilities in different areas of technology.
Traditionally, IT specialists are brought on board mainly to build and maintain the bank’s technology infrastructure (e.g. system troubleshooting, web development, research & development, engineering, application development, etc.), providing support to all financial divisions within the bank.
You may also be required to support your colleagues from other regions every now and then to ensure that the process of IT development and application is achieved on a global level so as to meet the technological needs of every location in which the bank operates.
Many banks have also recently begun to involve their technology team in the product development and business part of the job due to the increase in electronic and digital products, so you might also find yourself working with traders and analysts in a later part of your job!
If you’re interested in working in investment banks as part of their technology team, do consider enrolling in internship programmes organised by the banks. While they may not necessarily recruit straight from these programmes, it gives you a good idea of what working life as an IT specialist in an investment bank might be like, and will also stand you in a positive light as a driven and enthusiastic employee.
Skills that banking employees want
While a good academic background is important, you will also need to have a relevant degree if you hope to work as part of the technology team. Technology-related degrees (e.g. computer science, engineering, maths, etc.) or a degree with joint honours with computing are necessary, and certain positions may also be degree-specific.
It’s also not necessary for you to be knowledgeable in finance, although having basic understanding of the business will help you cater to the needs of your clients more efficiently, adding to your credibility and value as an employee.
Aside from that, good communication and interpersonal skills, along with teamwork and problem-solving abilities, are also invaluable. Work can sometimes be tedious too, especially when you’re involved in the troubleshooting and maintenance process, so having patience and an eye for detail is crucial as well.
Best and worst of IT-related banking graduate job
Working as an IT specialist in the investment banking sector can be immensely exciting, not just because of the dynamic and constantly changing environment of the sector itself, but also because of the rapid advances in technology. You’ll find that you will need to constantly update yourself with the latest IT knowledge to keep up-to-date in your field.
Also, with most investment banks being global operators, you’ll also have the chance to travel and work with people from different regions. This also opens up plenty of learning opportunities and will train you to work with people from different backgrounds.
That said, the general working environment tends to be rather fast-paced and can be quite stressful, so you’ll need to be able to perform under pressure. You’ll also find that your work is often team-oriented, so those of you who prefer to hunker down in your own cubicle and work at your own pace might take more time to adapt to the environment.