Want to Start a Fintech Career? Here’s Your Ultimate Guide

Fintech (and by extension Fintech careers) is expanding at an unprecedented rate, enveloping seemingly every vertical in finance. Emerging technologies like machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence provide incumbents and upstarts with new ways to create value in financial services. As a result, new business models have appeared and old ways of doing business are fast disappearing. This is having an inevitable impact on the workforce and is consequently putting an increased emphasis for professionals to upskill for a digital age.

As more and more professionals wake up to the fact that Fintech is transforming finance, the next logical step is to understand: how they can start a career in Fintech?

Similar to getting into any other profession, there are some prerequisites that will go a long way to ensuring you have the advantage in building a Fintech career. For example, being able to demonstrate you have the right knowledge to potential employers will be key.

Luckily the marketplace is evolving to provide a number of solutions. New courses that carry industry recognised certifications are fast appearing and a wide variety of job roles are being created in the Fintech sector.

It this article we will focus on 3 courses that when combined provide the most comprehensive learning experience for any individual interested in getting into Fintech. We’ll also part with some practical advice on how to plan once you’ve acquired the necessary credentials.

How to get into Fintech?

First step is to familiarize yourself with Fintech, and this is possible by taking one of many online courses available on Fintech. Below we have listed 3 courses available online which range from Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced learning.

Step 1: Start with the basics

Hong Kong University’s Fintech MOOC is a very good Introductory course taught by great academics – this would be the equivalent of your introduction course to finance when you start at university but applied to Fintech. This is a great course for university students and fresh graduates. It was co-developed by CFTE and features 2 of our board members as lecturers: Janos Barberis (founder of SuperCharger) and Douglas W. Arner (Kerry Holdings Professor in Law at the University of Hong Kong).

The course is available for FREE on the Edx education platform and can be completed in 6 weeks with approx 1 to 3 hours’ study time required per week.

Step 2: Build a solid foundation in Fintech theory

CFTE’s Fintech Foundation course is a very solid Foundation course for those who want to dive deeper into Fintech and understand the full scope of the opportunities available. It covers a range of topics from blockchain to challenger banks and helps to paint a vivid picture of the Fintech landscape. It’s taught by both academics and industry experts who are senior leaders in finance with a number of case studies to bring concepts to life. The course has built-in features that aim to build a global community where each member can learn from the other. In association with education partners Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the fintech foundational course has achieved IBF Future-Enabled Skills Level 1 accreditation, under the competency units of Blockchain and Cloud. The course is also CPD accredited in the U.K

It’s a great course for those who are thinking of a career in Fintech and in chapter four, an emphasis is paid to what professionals can do to take their next steps on their Fintech journey. The course has 40,000 learners enrolled worldwide, upskilling to join the Fintech revolution.

The course is open for enrolment and is available for £360(or 3 payments of £120) with access to teaching material available for 6 months from the date of purchase. As the title suggest that course can be completed in 8 hours but when you factor in extra reading and research expect it to take a little longer.

Fintech Foundation Specialisation Online Course
Fintech Foundation Specialisation

To learn more, click here.

Step 3: Advanced Applications

The Oxford Fintech Programme is a great advanced course for those who want to understand Fintech and also apply their knowledge through a set project. It’s taught by academics and industry experts and includes weekly homework assignments. The course is perfect for those who want a hands-on experience in how to apply Fintech.

We’ve spoken to a number of people who have completed the course and their experience suggests that it presents an intellectual challenge and requires a firm commitment to stay on top of course materials.

The course will require an investment of £2,500 and will take 10 weeks to complete. You’re expected to spend 12-15 hours per week learning teaching materials which underline that the course is for the committed.

We’ve highlighted 3 of the top courses but there are many more. You can find a longer list here.

How to get a Job in Fintech?

Before we list the potential jobs on offer for those of you who have completed some or all of the courses above, it would be smart to think strategically about exactly the kind of role you’ll be pursuing.

Practical Tips on Getting a Job in Fintech

For those looking to join the Fintech revolution, it is best to note and understand that the space is growing at a breakneck speed. It is vital to keep on top of trends and innovations within the Fintech space.

We’ve compiled some tips on where to start:

  1. Start with what you know: If you work as a trader it’s no good applying for a role in insurance because you like what you read about Lemonade. Give yourself the best chance by analysing the technologies that are disrupting your side of the corner because remember, Fintech is a very broad term and encompasses a lot of verticals
  2. Make a list: Do you know what kind of company you want to work for? If not make a list of the companies that would be the ideal fit for you. Start looking into some of the high growth startups in you vertical and perhaps do some research into banks that are pursuing a forward-looking Fintech strategy. With the knowledge you now have you should stand out to potential recruiters.
  3. Talk to people in Fintech: This should be obvious but if you’re starting out on a new path and not sure about the terrain then start networking with those in the industry to understand more about what it takes to succeed in Fintech. Go to events and meetups. For the adventurous among you try this new networking app called Shapr that connects you to like-minded professionals. The options are plenty, get creative!
  4. Build your Fintech knowledge: As aforementioned having an understanding of Fintech will be crucial in helping you upskill and be a attractive candidate for companies. Refer to CFTE’s Fintech Foundation Course to learn more.

Potential job roles to test your new Fintech knowledge

Once you’ve gone through the above courses and paid attention to the considerations, then there is no doubt you will have a strong understanding of the Fintech space; the main technologies, the ecosystem, future trends and are well prepared for a career in Fintech. Your next step then is to go out into the real world to apply your knowledge.

We’ve outlined 6 potential routes below on the job roles to help start a career in Fintech. The list is by no means exhaustive but should give you an idea of whats possible.

#1 Entrepreneur

If you have the entrepreneurial ambition then you could follow the path that many of the learners taking Around Fintech in 8 Hours have followed, develop your own idea to take to market. Around Fintech goes to great length to highlight the opportunities in new finance and as such can light a spark in your creativity that could lead you down an exciting path which CFTE’s community is on hand to support you with. It’s not for the faint-hearted but the rewards are well worth it if you can make a success of it.

#2 Product Manager

Whether it’s working for a Fintech startup or large corporate pursuing a Fintech strategy, the product manager job is crucial in ensuring the product keeps on track in its development roadmap. Understanding of the Fintech environment is key and the product manager will often be someone who abides by agile principles and is quick to adapt to changing conditions.

#3 Innovation roles

As banks start to embrace Fintech and expand their interest in innovating to remain competitive against the rise of Fintech upstarts, more and more innovation focused roles are coming into demand. Each area of banking will have its own application of Fintech and depending on your area (maybe you work in compliance or front-office) there is likely to be an opportunity for you to take the lead in championing new projects that integrate technology to streamline processes. Perhaps the shift has already happened and there is a need for Fintech literate talent to help lead the transformation?

#4 Data Specialists

Many commentators fondly refer to data as the new oil and with good reason because its data which is fuelling the growth of user-centric services that have become synonymous with the digital economy. The companies that can analyse and manage the ever-growing number of datasets will hold a distinct competitive advantage and thus the role of the data specialists is one of the most sought after.

#5 Business Development

A central component to the success of any business is the ability to make new partnership and sign new deals that can help a product gain a foothold in the marketplace. Fintech offers a plethora of opportunities for professionals interested in taking their understanding newly found knowledge of the mechanics of the Fintech sector and marrying it with their know-how of old finance to build to Fintech unicorns of tomorrow. Good business development pros will always be in demand.

#6 Developer/ UI expert

If you work in traditional finance than this would certainly be the exotic choice. One of the major growth areas in Fintech is the need for good developers to build out the apps, websites and features that differentiate from the status quo. As such, if you’re interested in making the switch to coding them there are no shortage of opportunities. The fastest and most proven route is to join a coding bootcamp which are designed to accelerate your development in mastering the key technologies that power the web in the shortest time frame possible. If you make the switch, then there will be no shortage of opportunities when it comes to landing that Fintech Job.

Thanks for reading our guide on ‘How to Start a Career in Fintech’. If you would like to know about the skills required in the world of Fintech, read our research The Top 6 Roles in Financial Services and Fintech in 2021.

Want to begin your Fintech learning journey?

Read more about our Fintech Foundation course to understand what it entails and how it can benefit you.

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The Centre for Finance, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is a global education platform that aims to equip financial professionals and organisations with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry. Our leading training programmes, curated by global industry experts, help talent build skills to join the digital revolution in finance. CFTE’s courses are globally recognised with accreditations from ACT, IBF, CPD, SkillsFuture and ABS.

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