Combining Corporate Finance and Programming Doesn't Have to Be Hard

by Angela Stone

Here are some tips on how to juggle demanding corporate finance duties with learning to code.

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Learning to code can be fun, and anyone with a passion for it can get started with any programming language. Finance professionals looking to venture into the tech world have a ton of options at their disposal. All they need is the right advice, the right resources, and the drive to get started and keep going.

Have a Plan in Place

Before starting to sort out the many programming languages in the market or even signing up with the many free online resources, it's advisable to begin with goal setting. The idea is to know what you want. For instance, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are on the right track and not just succumbing to the hype of being a coder:

  • What value will learning a programming language add to my finance career?
  • Do I want to shift jobs or advance to a more technical path within the finance niche?
  • Do I have some coding skills already?
  • Where do I want to be professionally in two, three, or five years?

The above questions aren't in any way exhaustive, but they will open up your mind to know what you want. Going even further to set your goals, you can start mapping programming languages to their primary functions. For instance, you can learn:

  • Java, Swift, or Kotlin to help you develop fintech apps.
  • Java, Python, and SQL for financial modeling.
  • Matlab, Python, and C++ for running simulations.
  • R and Python to advance your data science skills.
  • Matlab, C++. Python, Perl, and Java for developing AI trading platforms and algorithms.
  • JavaScript, CSS, and HTML to create your responsive finance or business website.

Knowing what you want and what you need to get there will enable you to move to the next step: learning to code.

Learn to Code

Considering that you are a busy professional working full-time, the idea of picking up a new programming course may seem a bit daunting. The truth is that learning to code can be quite demanding as well, and you'll need to get your priorities right.

A rule of thumb is to outline the programming languages you'll need before developing that app, writing that algorithm, being a data analyst, etc. You may need to pick a mentor who's already doing what you want. That way, you'll benefit from the right advice, e.g., which programming language to begin with and the best resources to fast-track your way to success.

Learning a programming language requires consistency, and you'll need to leverage the coding communities such as stack overflow, freecodecamp, and relevant subreddits. Similarly, make sure you're putting the new skills you learn into action. Andrew Hong, Technical Business Analyst at ConsenSys, recommends learning by doing.

Scaling up

Mastering one language in the coding world won't take you places. The reason being real-world problems require sophisticated solutions. That said, scaling your coding skills requires that you start at specific points.

Unlike the other professions where you can start anywhere and begin to piece everything on the go, coding requires proper structuring. In other words, you can't just apply the mapping of one language to another.

Some languages may be similar, but they have little overlap in actual use cases. For instance, R and Python or Java and C++. JavaScript, for example, won't help you analyze large datasets for algorithm modeling, but you can use it for full-stack website development along with HTML/CSS. Similarly, you can build a great website with Python, but it won't be as versatile as JavaScript/HTML/CSS. Additionally, the packages for each programming language are quite different.

Before getting started with a programming language, first, understand how you are going to scale it. The first language may be challenging, but if you do it right, the second one will be a bit easier. That is because you'll have created a learning path, and advancing to a new or related language won't be much of a challenge.

Final Takeaways

As you learn to code and progress from one language to another, be sure to update your portfolio and begin exposing your skills to the world. Another important consideration is to choose a coding Bootcamp since you don't have much spare time to teach yourself to code. That said, not all coding Bootcamps offer the same experience. Some are a bit expensive while others offer discounts to certain professionals/people.

Angela Stone is a Marketing Manager at Eleven Fifty Academy.