LEGACY IT SYSTEMS SPELL TROUBLE FOR BANKS BUT PROVIDE RICH PICKINGS FOR TECHNOLOGY CONTRACTORS
Last year’s failure of RBS core payment system showed just how much our retail banking system relies on technology – and often on legacy systems which can be decades old. Consequently technology leaders are facing a huge challenge in trying to update their systems – a challenge which one CIO of a leading bank who asked to remain anonymous has described as “trying to replace the engine of a plane whilst still in flight.”
The flip side of this is that from a hiring perspective, technology professionals – particularly software developers - with knowledge of these legacy systems are extremely hot property. But they are also in short supply - as Jonny Ward, Head of Financial Services Technology at Twenty Recruitment explains:
“Many banks have enormous and archaic systems which have to process vast volumes of routine transactions. In a number of instances these are based on outdated mainframe technologies such as Cobol. The enhancements and improved functionalities that are required – utilising more modern object-orientated languages - are tricky to implement because, put simply, the new parts of the system still need to speak to the old parts. This type of work requires well rounded technology professionals who not only have current tech expertise but also knowledge of legacy technologies. We are also seeing demand for contractors who currently work with old technologies which is proving to be very challenging as often these are technologies that are no longer taught or even produced any more.”
Ward says that the other challenge is that software developers, by nature want to work with the newest, shiniest and most cutting edge technologies, platforms and languages. “This obviously makes attracting the very best talent even more difficult but technologists should also consider that these are high profile business-critical change projects that can provide a high level of reward and experience.”
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