What are the best programming languages for finance?

Marlena Walburg
What are the best programming languages for finance?

While reliability, safety and flexibility are important in any industry, the finances seem to be even more sensitive to the quality of technologies used in it. It is one of those industries that have to deal with high data flow, complexity and computation sophistication. Nowadays, various programming languages, frameworks and tools have completely transformed the financial sector. As new financial solutions grow and emerge, it is necessary to understand which programming languages are most used in this field and benefit most. Here are the best programming languages for finance. 

Top programming languages for finance

In such a complex and demanding sector as finance, programming languages must meet certain conditions and have appropriate features, such as high security and scalability. Here are some of the top technologies used in the financial industries.


This popular programming language was released in 1995 as the core component of the Sun Microsystems Java platform. Java is class-based, object-oriented, and has as few implementation dependencies as possible. It’s a general-purpose programming language that allows application developers to write once, run anywhere. This means that compiled Java code can run on all Java-enabled platforms without recompiling, on any Java Virtual Machine (JVM), regardless of the underlying computer architecture. The language syntax is similar to C and C ++. The Java runtime provides dynamic capabilities such as code reflection and modification at runtime that are not typically available in traditional compiled languages. Java provides security and is great for building complex, heavily loaded programs that can handle huge amounts of data. It has a lot of tools and built-in functions for that. Therefore, it is one of the top technologies used in the financial industry, banking and Big Data projects. The language is highly portable because it runs in a virtual machine supported by multiple operating systems. 

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Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language with an extensive suite of standard libraries. The main idea of Python is readability and transparency of the source code regardless of the scale of the project, which is ensured by its linguistic structures and object-oriented approach. It has a clear and concise syntax. Python is a solution in many different areas, hence its popularity and wide application. It is the leading programming language in the FinTech, banking and data analytics industries. It is also slowly entering the field of cryptocurrencies and machine learning. All this is due to its remarkable advantages. Python is an easily scalable technology due to its simple syntax. Besides, the code written in Python is concise, making the technology easier for novice programmers. Many good, powerful frameworks like Django are also based on Python. 

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C # is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language. Microsoft designed it for its internal needs around 2000 as part of the .NET initiative. The language aims to be a simple, modern and general-purpose object-oriented. The basic syntax of C # is similar to other C-style languages ​​such as C, C ++, and Java. C # mainly used to develop .NET programs for the Microsoft operating system, 3D games, websites, and even mobile applications. In the financial industry, the language began to find an application similar to Java and is primarily used for simulation and data modelling. Its advantages are the interoperability between languages. When working with .NET, you can create a component in one language and inherit and extend that component in C #. C # also has type security. It does not allow developers to use any uninitialized variables. Additionally, C # can be extended to all third-party libraries for .NET. All these solutions extend the functionality of C # and make it a truly universal language.  


Ruby was designed and developed in the 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto. It is a high-level, interpreted general-purpose programming language. It is dynamically typed and uses garbage collection, and supports multiple programming paradigms, including procedural, object-oriented, and functional programming. Ruby syntax is similar to Perl and Python syntax. Class and method definitions are signalled with keywords, and code blocks can be defined with keywords or curly braces. Ruby is designed with developer productivity and fun in mind, following the principles of good user interface design. While not the leader in programming languages ​​for FinTech, Ruby has the capabilities and features that are essential for fast, effective application development. In this field, it is used to create digital payment systems, asset management systems or analytical and financial dashboards.

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ReactJS is a JavaScript library used to create graphical interfaces for web applications. It is popular and eagerly used in various industries. It was developed by Facebook, and inspired by the HTML component library for PHP, XHP. Often used to create single-page applications, but can also be the basis of mobile applications, also in the financial sector. React.js was created for the needs of Facebook, which was looking for a way to build dynamic but very efficient interfaces, resulting in this universal library. Originally, React.js was intended only for internal projects, but in 2013 it was made available by Facebook as open source. Currently, React.js is the most popular JavaScript library for creating web applications, and although it is only a Javascript library, and not its own full-fledged programming language, it should be mentioned due to its wide use in FinTech.

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Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, is a programming language based on Visual Basic, implemented in Microsoft Office applications and several others, such as AutoCAD and WordPerfect. This simplified version of Visual Basic is primarily used to automate work with documents, for example through macros. VBA does not allow you to create standalone compiled EXE applications. The code of a program written in VBA is always included in a document created with a program that supports VBA, e.g. a * .XLSX file of an MS Excel spreadsheet. Therefore, such a program requires a runtime environment, which is an application installed on a computer that supports a given document. VBA and Excel are omnipresent in finance. People in this sector use VBA as their daily tool, and it is often built into some of the systems they work on. Macros are used, for example, to handle data. They simplify your work and save time that you don’t have to spend on inventing spreadsheets.


R is an interpreted programming language and environment for statistical computing and visualization. It is a GNU project, similar to the S language, developed at Bell Laboratories. The name comes from the first letters of the names of the developers, Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman. GNU R is distributed as source code and in binary form with many GNU / Linux distributions. A version for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS is also available. R is often used in data and statistics applications. It is not the easiest language to learn, but it is great at handling and managing data. It helps to analyze and process data to discover the relationship between many variables. R is probably the best solution for statistical calculations, forecasting market changes and data visualization. The steep learning curve causes many people to drop out of learning R, which means that the developers of this language are constantly in demand and get paid very well.

What is Quantitative Research in Finance?

It is worth explaining the term that appears in the context of technologies used in finance. Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data. You can use it to find patterns and means, predictions, test causation, and generalize results to wider populations. This type of research is the opposite of qualitative research, which gathers and analyzes non-numeric data such as text or sound. They are widely used in the natural and social sciences. In finance, mathematical and statistical methods are used for this. Quantitative analysts typically specialize in specific areas that may include derivative structuring or pricing, risk management, algorithmic trading, and investment management. The process usually involves searching extensive databases for patterns such as correlations between liquid assets or patterns of price movements. Due to the complexity of such calculations, newer technologies, such as those mentioned above, and applications for them in this field are being sought.

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Is R or Python better for finance?

Both languages ​​have many features that are useful to the financial sector. R is currently the most used and effective language for data science. Python, in turn, is chasing R in terms of available packages for analysts. Both languages ​​have been exchanging first place in the ranking of the most popular languages ​​among data analysts for several years. R is dedicated to statistical calculations and visualization and is a really good tool for that. However, it is also hard to learn and easy to badly code in it. Nor is it suited to object-oriented programming, which is added in R as reflection, not as an integral part of the language as in Python. Both R and Python are dynamic-type languages. This makes them very flexible but also potentially error-prone. Additionally, Python is much faster than R. In terms of data science, R still has a slight advantage over Python because of its out-of-the-box purpose, although the gap has narrowed significantly recently. Python’s wider uses make it a more versatile choice with more options.

So, is there a perfect programming language for finance? Summary

There are quite a lot of technologies that serve the financial sector. Many of them are dedicated to activities in this field, but it is also worth remembering about programming languages, which, despite their general-purpose, do plenty of asset for this field. The top languages described above are great options for advanced, complex tasks and should be kept in mind.

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