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Evaluating a switch to Python

by James

Python becoming the lead language in fintech has been a hot topic for a while. Here at equipal we’re considering the switch. Our CTO James (with a breadth of dev experience, including at Zoopla) discusses the main advantages of Python and some thoughts around evaluating our switch below.

1. Simple language for complex code

It’s well known that Python is an accessible language, with simple deployment. On a large code base, many developers appreciate the neatness and easy-reading, and find a time-saving benefit on small, fiddly tasks. This can be a huge advantage for complex code for fintechs which are under constant change and development – the ability to have low-error, frequent deployment is crucial. We know that rapid technology responses to customer needs, industry changes and user feedback – the huge agility advantages that fintechs have – give us the edge over competitors and provide a better experience for users.

Frameworks such as Flask and Django allow rapid iteration.

2. Integration-friendly

Many apps provide greater services to their users through their smooth integration with parallel services – particularly in finance. If you’re a user of Plum, Moneybox, Canopy (I could go on), you’ll be familiar with how the smooth Open Banking integrations really make some of the features.

In today’s market, we typically see Python being used across leading Open Banking APIs, as well as payment operators like Stripe and Square. If your own app is written in Python, developing API integrations is a far easier process.

At equipal, the entire processes for sourcing, financing & managing equipment are kept in-app. Integrations across banking, management accounting and credit information (as well as payments & documentation) are crucial in this cutting-edge technology, and are what allow us to continue to move away from the traditional players. A move to Python will undoubtedly make developing these integrations, and forging even more innovative ways to gather information, easier.

3. Popular

It’s undeniable that Python has become the most popular language in financial services. This hosts a number of advantages. Of course, it can make recruitment a simpler task. But there’s also a lively and growing Python community, ripe for innovation & discussion – this provides a great foundation for a strong tech team in a high-growth start up.

I believe a great developer can master any language. But with AI, crypto, cloud all leaning heavily towards Python, it certainly suggests the modern (and future-proof) fintech might benefit from joining that party.

4. Finance focussed

Python is a great language for large, financial data sets. We’re seeing it increasingly used by fintechs occupying this space. Indeed, there are a number of Python libraries simplifying data analysis and prediction processes.

For a fintech platform, more volume brings more data. And the ability to easily and accurately use that data to provide better service to users is so important. For us at equipal, our huge credit modelling capabilities can continue to break ground in the asset finance space as we harness larger data sets. Quicker finance, better rates.

A few closing remarks..

As with all things tech, there’s more than one way to “skin a cat”. You could write an Open Banking API in almost any language but in 2021 with the demand for technical talent as high as ever, it would be remiss to ignore market trends.

Stackoverflow each year surveys it’s vast reach of engineers and developers to see what tools and tech developers around the world like to work with. You can find the May 2021 survey results here – https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2021Python ranked top of the most “wanted” languages with over 80,000 respondents.

Python consistently ranks top (or close to) in all of these surveys which means a vote for python is a vote for a language that technology professionals actively love and choose to learn and use to solve complex enterprise problems.

Of equal (and we might argue greater!) importance, Python is a language of choice for emerging graduates and those switching careers to IT.