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If you're learning a coding language with a view to becoming employable in a technology role in financial services, should you choose something like Python , which is well-used across the industry, or should you go for something a little more obscure?
A Substack blog post at the weekend argued for the obscurity route. We've already looked at the value of languages like K and Q for finance jobs, but there's also merit to learning functional programming languages like Clojure, F#, Scala, Elixir, and...OCaml.
OCaml is the language used by Jane Street, the quantitative market making firm that last year paid its lucky graduate trainees a $200k annual base salary, plus a $100k sign-on bonus, plus a $100k-$150k guaranteed performance bonus. Jane Street's revenues in the first quarter alone of 2020 were greater than Citadel Securities' for the entire year.
Maybe this doesn't matter. Minksy explains that Jane Street's rationale for using OCaml is partly based on the "Python Paradox" posited in the early days of Python by YCombinator founder, Paul Graham. This says that: “If a company chooses to write its software in a comparatively esoteric language, they'll be able to hire better programmers, because they'll attract only those who cared enough to learn it.”
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