Now that you know what Fintech is (and if not, have a quick read), we can have a look at what it’s like to work in Fintech today. Fintech is much more ‘Tech’ than it is ‘Fin’. It should actually be called ‘Techfin’ and not Fintech. Maybe not as brandable. As you must know now, it is about deploying technology to facilitate the delivery of financial services. Therefore, there is a big focus on technology.
Of course, you should not forget that we are talking about financial services here. For instance, for those of you who do not know it yet, compliance is king in financial services. It’s part of the fun. Wherever you are in the world, the regulatory burden is immense when it comes to financial services. Even more when you are dealing with retail customers. It is one of these industries that are heavily scrutinised by financial regulators everywhere.
Working in Fintech today, it’s (almost) all about Tech
That is one way that Fintech is transforming the financial services industry. If you want to work in Fintech today, it’s all about tech. Well, mostly let’s say. The skills that you need to be able to work on developing Fintech solutions, either at a large bank or a small startup, are vastly different from what you needed 30 years ago to be a banker on Wall Street or in the City of London.
Banking has changed. And so have the people working in banking. It does not mean that you will not find a banker with suspenders smoking a cigar if you hang around Bank station in London on a Friday night. But you are as likely to find a swaggy hipster with a brand new Apple MacBook Pro on the Upper East Side in New-York: both work in financial services believe it or not.
And keeping in mind that compliance and risk functions have a huge place in banks since the Great Financial Crisis. No surprise here and not even remotely saying that it should not be the case. And even though it is notable that the approach to dealing with regulation is vastly different between banks and fintechs. But if you are a startup that has scaled enough, you will have to deal with increased compliance too.
But most of all, finance has become much more a tech game…
Kiss of the Python
One job that is most certainly high in demand: coder. Working in Fintech today is a lot about coding. Citigroup, the large US bank, is planning to hire 2,500 coders in 2020. All the major banks are recruiting armies of people in technology as they spend billions on modernising their tech stacks and achieve cost savings. Data scientists are also high in demand as machine learning takes a central place in financial services, and poised to grow in importance in the years to come.
So if you want to become a data scientist in a fintech, better get started on learning Python… Nothing new here, there are tons of resources out there on why it is the best language for data science.
However, data science is not the only thing that banks and fintechs are looking for. If you want to work in fintech today, bear in mind that they also need people to develop mobile apps, website interface, taking care of back office systems, etc. There are plenty of jobs if you have the right technical skills.
Fighting for talent
But here is the problem, everybody is looking to hire the same people. All the banks, as well as Fintech startups, are now looking to grow their technology teams. But so are actual technology companies like Facebook or Google. The same Big Tech that are looking to expand in financial services. A war for talent. So if you want to work in fintech today and know how to code, you should be alright… and if you don’t, get started!
Instead of fighting over people, why not re-training the swath of currently unemployed people? Not everybody needs to be a super PhD data scientist who has mastered all coding languages for the past 10 years. There is space for people willing to learn how to code to join the technology teams at banks and fintechs….