The field of fintech is a lot bigger than you might think. Fintech encompusses all of the technology being used to improve financial services for businesses and consumers. No matter the area of finance — including investing, banking, insurance, lending, and more — fintech products and services seek to provide more streamlined and cheaper offerings to customers.
The products and services at the intersection of finance and technology are proving to be a new frontier for both industries. As a result, right now could be the perfect time to pursue a career in fintech.
A career in fintech brings with it many benefits. For one, fintech employees get to work in a fast-paced environment using the latest technologies. Fintech companies are experiencing rapid growth and are on the cutting edge of innovation, making them exciting places to work.
As for the companies themselves, fintech businesses require specialists across a wide range of areas. Fintech combines two areas — finance and technology — that are high-paying and are always looking for reliable employees.
Let’s use an example of a fintech startup that is creating an investment app. This company needs developers to create and manage the application itself, designers to make the app look pretty, business development specialists to sell the app and grow the business, and cybersecurity specialists to ensure the product is safe. And this is only a sample of the employees the company would need!
Let’s dive into some of these positions to see what fintech jobs are like, and what skills you need to pursue a fintech career.
Without developers, there would be no fintech industry. Developers are the lifeblood of any fintech company. They are sometimes referred to as “programmers” because they program the functions of a product or service to certain specifications. Developers go deep in the weeds of a fintech product, making sure each and every aspect of the product works as intended.
Developers come in all shapes and sizes, with many focusing their skills on one particular area of the industry. These include:
- Blockchain – Designing the architecture of distributed ledgers, implementing smart contracts, and ensuring security of the blockchain.
- AI – Creating networks that use information to learn on their own and provide better services to customers along the way.
- Big Data – Utilizes big data platforms to create processes which synthesize and analyze large data sets.
Skills Needed: Generally, a fintech developer is only as good as their technical skills. Depending on the company, a fintech developer may need to know Java, Python, C++, HTML, PHP, or other programming languages. When programming, it’s likely a developer will need to go back and forth from mobile to web to their coding, making multitasking a key skill if you want to get into this line of work.
The job of a data analyst is to take hoards of information and turn it into actionable items that a company can use to their benefit. In the fintech industry, data analysts are often working with financial data to provide a better experience to their customers. Data analysts help improve the quality of a product or service with their suggestions based on previously collected data. It is also up to a data analyst to find inconsistencies and potential errors in data sets which inform what data is usable from outliers.
Skills Needed: Do you like math? Data analysts work with large swaths of data, requiring solid analytical and mathematical skills. Oftentimes this also includes programming skills to run analysis and statistical modeling on data sets. A degree in economics, statistics, or applied mathematics is generally a prerequisite for fintech data analysts.
If you like numbers and analyzing the success of a business, think about becoming a fintech financial analyst. A financial analyst helps businesses make better decisions by compiling and analyzing financial information. This might include macroeconomic data, such as what is going on the global economy, as well as figures specific to the company. An analyst uses this information to create a financial model for the company, and identify areas in which expenses can be cut, revenue can be grown, and the company can make more money.
Skills Needed: Out of all the jobs discussed, financial analysts need the most background in traditional finance. This means an undergraduate, or graduate degree in accounting or finance, or even an MBA. Along with great mathematical skills, a financial analyst should be detail-oriented and be ok with making tough decisions. After all, the work of a financial analyst could lead to cutting jobs and other changes in business operations.
The biggest threat to the fintech industry is the safety of new products and services. Because fintech companies often collect sensitive personal data, they can be targets of hackers. This problem is even common among more established financial companies. Cybersecurity specialists are employed to make sure that malicious actors have no way of harming a fintech company or its users. This specialist identifies potential security threats to a company, and even works to identify risks in outside vendors of the company.
Skills Needed: There are a host of security standards for the industry that a cybersecurity specialist should know. These include skills in hardware, software, and networks. As such, a degree in computer science or cybersecurity is generally expected. Because technology moves so fast, working in cybersecurity means you need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry to stay ahead of hackers.
All financial businesses need to mitigate risk. Even as fintech companies are standardizing their processes, these businesses still require oversight of risk similarly to traditional financial institutions. Risks of the fintech industry include: audit, fraud, IT security, disaster recovery, third party risk, and others. A risk manager oversees and manages all of these risk areas, creating strategies and policies to mitigate these risks and streamline processes for dealing with problems.
Skills Needed: Risk managers need strong organizational and communication skills, as they often collaborate across many areas of a fintech business to solve problems. A background in business or IT are both acceptable for this type of position, and those with experience in both areas will have a leg up on the competition.
Think of your favorite fintech app. What does it look like? It’s most likely sleek, simple to navigate, and easy on the eyes. All of this is thanks to user interface /user experience (UI/UX) designers. Designers are especially important in an industry like fintech, where making an app or product easy to use is necessary to drive user growth. Additionally, fintech offerings generally require significant data collection from users due to government regulations. The easier a product is to navigate, the more likely a user is to complete the process and use the product. UI/UX designers make sure that the fintech product or service is easy for anyone to navigate, no matter their experience. This process often requires user research, concept development, design, and prototyping before releasing a product to the public.
Business Development Manager
A fintech company can come up with the best product in the world, but it won’t matter if it doesn’t sell. A business development manager’s role is to oversee the growth of the entire fintech business, no matter the stage. For products that are pre-launch, this includes developing a marketing strategy and a go-to-market analysis to determine how the product should be rolled-out. For businesses that are further along in their development, this might require prospecting new partnerships, identifying a new customer base, or finding areas to improve profitability.
Skills Needed: Generally, business development managers have a strong background in business. This includes being well-versed in marketing and finance, and may even include an advanced MBA degree. Those who have successfully started their own business are likely to find success in this position.
The perfect time for a fintech career
The fintech industry is expected to grow to about $310 billion by 2022, so get on the fintech train before it’s too late. The industry is filled with innovative, new companies that are quickly growing, making the future for fintech very exciting. This rapid growth will not only provide employees more stability than other startup environments, it also presents a higher upside for growth as companies expand.
A job within the fintech industry will not only provide a great working environment today, it could pay dividends in the future. With a revolution in finance underway, those with an experience in fintech will be more desirable employees for the future.
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