Financial technology, more broadly known as “fintech,” is undoubtedly here to stay.
As the new era of the digital economy has unfolded, startups and companies have been building innovative technologies to disrupt the financial services sector, be it through online marketplaces, mobile apps, artificial intelligence, or robotics. With the rise of fintech comes the need for talent in this space.
So, what does it take for someone to land a job in this booming sector?
Technical Skills and Soft Skills
Whether you are on the entrepreneurial path or looking for a job in fintech, having a blend of both technical and business acumen is extremely helpful.
Those looking to launch a fintech startup — perhaps to develop a mobile app or set up an online store — will be most successful if they have a general management skill set that includes everything from sales and relationship management to finance, marketing, analytics, and product management.
Those looking to pursue careers with fintech companies, on the other hand, need to have unique profiles and skill sets that will help them command the best-paying jobs. These professionals should have the necessary business acumen, and they should be able to confidently — and accurately — speak the language of financial services. A mix of STEM knowledge and coding experience is also a huge plus.
Since fintech jobs typically require working with cross-functional teams under tight deadlines, soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and teamwork will make you a particularly valuable asset, whether you’re working with a company or launching your own startup.
Tips on Landing a Fintech Job
Fintech is a rapidly growing and quickly evolving space. To set themselves up for long-term success, job seekers need to keep track of all the players and stay ahead of emerging trends. Here are some tips on where to start:
- Do your research: Learn the ecosystem, sectors, and players. What products are excited about? Dig further into the history of the industry and any company for which you’d like to work. See how the company evolved and what opportunities may lie ahead.
- Understand how your skills and strengths align with a prospective company’s needs: Assess your cultural fit. Can you thrive in a startup environment, or do you need to join a more established enterprise in the fintech space, such as a bank? In drafting your resume, be sure to highlight projects, internships, and other experiences that showcase skills that are clearly relevant to the fintech job you are targeting.
- Build your fintech network: Fintech events are the best places to start networking. To find potential mentors and leads on job opportunities, try participating in conferences like MIT FinTech Conference, Empire Startups Fintech Conference, Techfest, or a Startup Open House event. You can also build connections with fintech professionals through LinkedIn.
- Sharpen your skills: Enroll in an MBA or other master’s program that offers electives or specializations in fintech, data analytics, and/or artificial intelligence. At Smith School of Business, for instance, programs such as the Master of Management Analytics, Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, and Master of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship are popular for those looking to pursue fintech careers. Wherever you plan to enroll, make sure the school provides info sessions and networking events that will help you get plugged into the fintech ecosystem.
As with any other industry, there will always be challenges in launching a career in fintech. With much diligence and perseverance, however, pursuing a career in the sector can be very rewarding.
Karen Jackson-Cox is executive director of the Career Advancement Centre at Smith School of Business.