As a student, thinking about your future can be a daunting prospect – especially if you’re considering careers and industries that aren’t so widely known about. One such industry might be FinTech (financial technology), an emerging industry that uses new technology to improve financial services. A hugely exciting and rapidly growing industry, FinTech covers many areas including: accounting software, money transfers, artificial intelligence and equity financing to name a few.
Why should you consider a career in the FinTech industry?
The FinTech industry is thriving – in fact, it is set to be worth well over $200 billion globally by 2021. The rapid and unwavering growth of the sector means that there are a huge number of graduate jobs available – and surprisingly, you don’t have to be extremely techie or knowledgeable about financial markets to make your mark in the industry. FinTech offers a huge range of roles that can be well-suited to graduates of all skills and degree backgrounds, so whether you’re a humanities buff or an IT whizz – a career in FinTech could be for you.
There are plenty of reasons why working in the FinTech industry is a great choice for graduates. FinTech businesses tend to operate with a flat organisational structure – meaning that there is generally less bureaucracy and red tape in comparison to traditional finance companies. Therefore, FinTech startups are more readily able to reward high performers with promotions and rapid career progression.
Even better, the innovative spirit that is deeply entrenched in the industry has made FinTech a highly engaging and exciting environment for graduates to work in. At a FinTech company, you’re likely to be surrounded by enthusiastic and entrepreneurial individuals who will motivate, inspire and educate you on a daily basis.
Finally, the globality of the FinTech industry means there are often opportunities to travel and work abroad – something that is hugely exciting for a graduate at the very start of their career.
What type of roles exist in FinTech – and what skills do you need?
The FinTech industry is remarkably broad, and therefore there are hundreds of very different graduate jobs available. Here are just a few of them:
Software Developer – FinTech companies looking to make new software need skilled developers to create and maintain it. With the world turning to smartphones, there is also a huge demand for mobile app developers who can create something that rivals the competition.
Those looking for software developer graduate jobs will likely need a computer science or software engineering degree – as well as programming knowledge and experience using languages like Java. Artificial Intelligence and cyber security knowledge are also highly desirable to employers in the FinTech industry.
Finance Assistant – A finance assistant (or more specifically someone who can assist with accounting and bookkeeping), is a hugely important role within FinTech. They will assist finance departments with managing and processing transactions as well as troubleshooting any accounting problems that arise.
Someone who has studied a business, accounting or finance degree is desirable, but not essential for a finance graduate job in FinTech. Experience managing data is also useful as it highlights your analytical skills – and knowledge of Excel or other bookkeeping software is desirable for more heavily accounts-related roles.
IT Support – With all the new technology and software on the market, IT support is essential to ensure that clients are getting the most out of the software they use. Individuals working in IT support are invaluable to development teams, as they will highlight any bugs in software to be fixed, ultimately improving value to users.
It’s useful to have some background in IT if applying for this role. Problem-solving skills are also important at development stages and for ongoing support for software, as well as good communication and interpersonal skills.
Client Services – Individuals working in client services graduate jobs in FinTech act as the vital point of liaison between the company and its clients/customers. They will usually handle inbound inquiries, respond to any issues that arise, and manage relationships – essential for FinTech companies whose product or service is used by an array of clients.
This role can suit a real range of people with different skill sets. In order to succeed you’ll need to be able to build and sustain relationships – so people skills are a must. Having an understanding of both the finance-side and the tech-side of FinTech would also come in handy in a client services role.
Now that we’ve looked at what FinTech is, and the key skills and qualifications you need to work in different graduate jobs in FinTech – how do you get your foot in the door?
One of the most popular ways of getting a graduate job in FinTech is through an internship (which may develop into a permanent role) – particularly common with large banks and other financial services.
Another way to break into the industry is through a graduate scheme, which many big FinTech companies will offer to train people up to eventually move into a permanent role.
However, internships and graduate schemes are very competitive – and one way to stand out from the crowd is to provide a portfolio of your work wherever possible. Any practical experience you can gain on top of your education will also elevate your application above those who only have classroom experience.
In the meantime, try to develop your knowledge of financial services to better focus your job hunt and help to make you a stronger candidate in the eyes of employers.