As the fintech industry continues to expand and collaborate with traditional financial players, the opportunities for career success are growing for individuals who join this field. As of 2023,efinancialcareersa career website, reported that of all fintech incumbents, 18% came from outside the industry, 26% from technology, and 47% from traditional banking and finance. The industry growth has seen a constant demand for new talent. As this grows, bringing people in from outside the space will become a more common occurrence. Fintech companies are actively seeking talent from outside the financial services space, and with more people from a variety of backgrounds, each business will need to foster more inclusive teams and harness the power of diversity. These individuals bring fresh perspectives and new ideas that can drive innovation and solve previously unidentified problems. In an industry in constant change, individuals whose skills can constantly transfer to new demands will be increasingly important. Regardless of whether it's a disruptor bank, blockchain specialist, or cloud scale-up, there are transferable skills that are making a significant impact across the entire Fintech sector. Here are the top ten skills to look out for:
Proficiency in coding is highly sought after in the fintech community. With the constant evolution of products and the need to develop new systems and integrations, coding skills are essential in bringing these innovations to life. Every single business will need a team of coders, and finextra.com recently reported that theTop 4 Programming Languages for Fintechare Golang, Ruby, Python and Java. Firms that prioritize the reliability and quality of their systems build better reputations. Any errors or bugs in their systems can be harmful, and coders who drive high standards and adhere to testing processes are the most successful.
The increasing accessibility of systems and the expanding reach to partners and customers make cybersecurity one of the most in-demand skills. Fintech companies must prioritize the safety and security of their platforms and data. In a recent episode of my podcast,The DEI Discussions, I interviewed Elke Bachler, Cyber Security Executive, who said, “No matter what you do, there is always a chance of an incident” and “preparing for that incident and handling it well is just as important as preventing it.” Having the ability to understand technology as well as the business function, communicate technical cyber risks, debate solutions, and offer support is hugely important for evolving technology businesses.
The ability to analyze and derive insights from data is crucial in the fintech industry. Data-driven decision-making and the ability to extract meaningful information from vast amounts of data can drive strategic growth and competitive advantage. The Consulting FirmBlueWeaveproduced research that predicts that AI within the Fintech market will “reach a value of USD 58.05 billion in 2029”, citing its benefits in “processing vast amounts of client data” to make easier and more efficient decisions. As fintech businesses look to build scalable products for mass consumer and partnership demand, this data analysis becomes even more important.
The fintech landscape is characterized by rapid change and evolving customer needs. The onset of Blockchain, distributed ledgers, cloud computing, low code, AI and open banking are just a few recent examples. Having a growth mindset, being adaptable, and embracing change are valuable traits that enable individuals to thrive in this dynamic environment, which is sure to change again in the coming years. This includes being able to debate and challenge positively. The book'The Growth Mindset'by Rick Capozzi focuses its attention on the “human component of advisory services”. With a wealth management industry lens Rick Capozzi talks of the “Fintech Revolution” where, “Disruption is now the new normal, and successful leaders must be able to adapt quickly and operate with an eye toward growth.” Fintech companies value individuals who can contribute to constructive debates and challenge existing ideas. This skill fosters a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
Clear and concise communication is essential in the fintech industry. The CFTE (Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship) produced a report called‘New Skills in Financial Services’. These were the findings from a Roundtable at the Singapore Fintech Festival, during the Elevandi Insights Forum in late 2022. They cited communication as a “critical” soft skill in Fintech, explaining, “While the general perception is that hard skills are important, soft skills influence the success and progression of a career today.” The ability to effectively convey complex concepts, ideas, and solutions to various stakeholders, including sales teams, clients, and partners, is essential for success.
Fintech companies often deal with numerous interconnected systems and processes. Back in the 2010’s, IBM coined the approach ‘Enterprise Design Thinking’ and described it as a “powerful approach to innovation and brand differentiation, focused on creating experiences that delight customers.” The key to this approach is to focus on the outcome of the work undertaken, alongside constantly measuring the success of the outcome for the user it was intended for. When everyone involved in a fintech company is passionate about the mission and purpose, then innovation and impact become top priorities. This type of thinking is profound for roles in the product, implementation, change and transformation specialisms. The ability to think at an enterprise level, considering the bigger picture and understanding how different components work together, is highly valuable.
Sales and marketing in the fintech industry have become increasingly technical. The focus on the customer and their accessibility, usability and inclusion has opened up a wealth of opportunities for Fintech growth. This offers an exciting route into the Fintech world. CapGemini’s Research Institute produced a report called'The Customer Engagement Imperative: What banks can learn from the Fintech Playbook'and highlighted how central the right sales and marketing skills are to a Fintech. The report stated, “The CMO today is expected to be the master of multiple disciplines, responsible for everything from managing budgets and ROI to developing new products and overseeing marketing technologies.” The ability to leverage technology and data to create targeted marketing campaigns and communicate the value of fintech products is crucial for attracting and retaining customers.
Compliance and regulatory adherence are vital in the heavily regulated financial industry. These regulations ensure best practice, safe strategies, customer due diligence and builds brand reputation. These are all of huge importance for newer businesses entering the marketplace. In a 2022 White&Case special publication titled, ‘Five ways in which Fintechs can lead the way in compliance best practices across Latin America’, it used examples from the region to highlight “inconsistencies” in legal requirements globally. It stated that fintechs are, “recognizing that they are on a path to the international stage, where having a strong compliance program provides strategic advantages and supports sustainable growth.” Fintech professionals with a strong understanding of compliance frameworks and a commitment to ethical practices are highly valued. When coming up with new solutions or ideas, it is crucial to have a strong sense of fairness and to follow guidelines to ensure they stay within the set parameters.
Fintech operations require high levels of accuracy and efficiency to ensure smooth transactions and reliable services. The nature of the industry is solving problems and often problems that weren’t identified as problems before. A Deloitte Cloud Blog written in 2022 named ‘Effective Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Requires an Observability Strategy’ points out the importance of being able to fully review a problem in the software or application to identify and rectify it for the future. Site Reliability Engineers and DevOps are fast-growing roles in the technology space and one that requires this burning desire to find the core route of a problem. This needs skills that include notetaking, documentation, logging and tracing back through details accurately and efficiently. Attention to detail, precision, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment are key attributes for success.
The complex nature of the fintech ecosystem means that businesses may need to partner with their peers, banks, regulators, consultancies, vendors, and customers. They need to listen to these partners and listen to their staff. In contrast to the rise of AI and automation, there is a growing need for empathy within the business, listening to feedback and acting upon it. The Accenture report ‘Banking on Empathy’shares insights that financial institutions that are able to connect with their customer empathetically are more likely to gather meaningful data. The report provides evidence that individuals who possess empathy tend to "outperform their peers financially." The ability to empathize and build partnerships is a valuable skill set that is relevant to many industries, including fintech. This presents an excellent opportunity for both individuals seeking to join the Fintech industry and businesses looking to acquire these skills.
By recognizing the importance of these transferable skills and actively seeking talent from diverse backgrounds, the fintech industry can continue to drive innovation, create impactful solutions, and shape the future of financial services. By considering transferable skills, the search for talent can expand beyond the usual pools, leading to faster growth potential for the sector. The opportunities for career growth and success in fintech are abundant, making it an attractive sector for individuals looking to make a difference in the world of finance.
This article was first featured in Forbes on 30th June 2023 — view the article on Forbes here.
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