Developer Data – What I’ve Found


I went back to my university roots and did a data analysis project.

Well, I say data analysis, it was just looking at an excel spreadsheet and counting, but I’m going to say it’s Data Analysis. That’s what Data Science is to some companies, right?

I was interested to see what our clients – primarily Hedge Funds, Asset Managers and Trading Firms – look for when it comes to Developers. Was there a particular profile, or background that they hired in general?

From what I remember from my stats degree, a good piece of analysis needed a hypothesis, so each of my initial findings were based on reasonable (I think) assumptions. So, here we go:

Most Developers will come from a Computer Science background

60% of developers we’ve placed have come from a Computer Science background.

It’s not surprising that having strong theoretical knowledge of computing is going to help you to get a job as a software developer. I was surprised the number was so high – given my background is in Maths and Statistics, I was hoping for a higher percentage of Maths graduates in the survey.

Developers with Maths backgrounds will do well with our clients

A surprisingly low number of our developers came from a Maths background – only 13%, and only 21% if you include Physics as well.

I would have thought that having a solid grounding in Maths or Physics would help with the algorithmic nature of what our clients do from a development point of view. But if only 1 in 5 developers are coming from these backgrounds, then perhaps this shows how little programming is actually being taught in these degrees.

Storing and analysing data is a huge part of what our clients do

A third of our placements in development have a database focus to them (this could be a SQL Developer, Data Engineer, SSAS Developer, etc), showing just how data driven our clients are.

I’ve certainly seen an increase in data related projects in the past few years, and I can see this being a trend that will increase. The combination of Python and Databases will become more common as knowledge of querying databases will become an absolute essential skill, if not already the case.

The majority of placements Saragossa do is within software development

I’m really happy to say that we’ve done extremely well to build a company of varied consultants with an array of skills and specialist areas.

This is based on 35% our placements being software developers, which when we started peaked around the 50% mark. Our consultants have built trust with our clients, proving that we can cover the whole IT spectrum. This is something that will continue to be the case as we grow further.

You don’t need to come from finance to get a job in finance

Aha! The old myth of hedge funds and asset management. We’ve got a huge range of previous backgrounds coming into work for our clients.

Granted, there’s a good amount coming from banking or fintech, but we also have developers coming from e-commerce, academia, insurance, digital agencies, big 4 consultancies and even Formula One. With developers having more and more options, it’s great to see the talent available in all industries, as well as clients being more open-minded as to where the best candidates are.

If you don’t have a STEM degree, you cannot get a development job in finance

I’ve always said it’s more about being the ‘right fit’ for the job rather than just having a good degree.

As someone who comes from a maths background, I was never the stereotypical fit for recruitment, and I love breaking those boundaries.

I’m delighted to see that we’re not one dimensional and there are a range of backgrounds we’ve helped get into software development.

8% of our developers are from non-STEM backgrounds and 50% of these non-STEM backgrounds have no degree at all. I’m really pleased to see that we don’t write anyone off purely because of their background.

In Summary

As you can see, not everything about our data was quite what I expected – I’m really surprised by how few candidates came from Maths or Physics backgrounds, and I think there’s a definite question to be asked as to what’s stopping graduates with these degrees from entering the development space.

On the other hand, if you’ve got the right attitude and desire to learn and progress, developers without a computer science background shouldn’t in any way be put off applying, as most companies are meritocracies –with as many new and emerging technologies as finance has, the time has never been better to put yourself out there as a developer and see what your options are.

To discuss any of the findings presented here in more detail, or if you’re a developer interested in learning about available opportunities within the financial space, please reach out to me via LinkedIn, or