PUBLISHED AUGUST 9, 2019
Check Out Our List of Up-and-Coming Fintech Careers
The world of finance has transformed tremendously in recent years with the rapid evolution of technology birthing the new domain of fintech—the intersection where financial services and technology converge.
Technologies like peer-to-peer lending, robo-advisors, cryptocurrencies, investment management software, big data and online banking are taking the finance industry by storm.
Nearly 82% of financial institutions plan to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years.
Now, more than ever, business leaders need to focus on the customer journey. Companies today are seeking better ways to leverage technology to improve their products, services and processes. Through innovation, corporations can meet consumer and business expectations for convenience and personalization.
In the first half of 2018, companies invested $41.7 billion in fintech worldwide, surpassing the total record spend for 2017. Fintech is undeniably advantageous for organizations as technology continues to redefine our daily lives.
With the pressure to stay ahead of the competition and continually adapt, there’s a growing demand for STEM talent in finance who have the capabilities to manage disruptive technology. Fintech careers are emerging to help the industry reach new heights and drive organizational change.
What are the top fintech careers?
The financial services world operates mostly on the back of digital and cloud-based technologies. While these applications improve internal processes and customer service, there is also an unavoidable burden—increased vulnerability to malicious cyber threats.
Financial institutions are targeted by cyberattacks 65% more than the average business.
Cybercrime is on the rise and not stopping anytime soon. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that cybercrimes will triple the number of open job positions in the next five years alongside projections that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021.
The demand for talented cybersecurity professionals is at an all-time high and is projected to continue rising. The fintech domain needs experts and specialists to develop security measures that thwart malicious threats.
- Investigating incidents and creating an actionable response plan
- Evaluating vulnerabilities to prevent future security breaches
- Using intelligent encryptions to protect data and systems
- Conducting scenario-based testing to develop security measures
Another profession set to grow within fintech is blockchain development.
A whopping 30% of finance companies expect to incorporate blockchain technologies into their strategy by 2020, according to PwC.
Although this distributed ledger technology was initially developed to account for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the fintech sector has found other uses. For instance, one solution includes the elimination of business intermediaries to make transactions less costly, faster and more efficient. Some authorities also foresee its potential to provide more secure methods for records management.
As such, the demand for blockchain developers has skyrocketed. Upwork, a popular freelancing platform, reported that blockchain was the fastest-growing skill with a 3,500% year-over-year growth in Q2 of 2018.
The recent peak in cryptocurrency and blockchain interest continues to fuel job demand, as more companies require platforms and programs to improve efficiencies and speed-to-market.
- Implementing UI/UX design concepts to define the customer experience
- Employing Ethereum and Hyperledger tools
- Designing, building and launching blockchain technology per business models and requirements
- Applying expertise of algorithms, data security, P2P networks and cryptography
Risk and compliance
Fintech emerged on the scene initially as an alternative solution to financial institutions. However, the lines have blurred in recent years considering new developments.
There is a growing trend of fintech businesses pursuing bank charters, and in turn, banks are nurturing relationships with fintech companies to fulfill consumer demand—a total transformation of both the fintech and traditional financial services domain.
Both fields have been affected by new rules and regulations amid the evolution of technology. As a result, the risk of regulatory scrutiny and obligations have increased simultaneously, causing the need for compliance experts to rise.
In addition to compliance, risk control managers are also in demand. More financial companies need specialists to analyze, prevent and mitigate risks, including regulations, operations and crime.
- Using technology to analyze trends and patterns to prioritize risk
- Identifying current vulnerabilities and potential compliance issues
- Developing risk management strategies and policies
- Staying abreast of evolving industry regulation requirements
- Combatting financial crime through AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (know-your-customer) software
These rocket scientists, also known as "Quants," are the brains behind complex trading programs. Specialists in this area guide securities firms, investment banks and hedge funds in making informed decisions about markets, pricing and financial risk.
As the finance sector continues to evolve, more specialists are needed to build strategies and interpret big data that help maximize profit and minimize risk. The rise of fintech startups, machine learning, deep learning and AI will only intensify the demand for quantitative analysts.
These specialists in math, data science, finance and application development will create the algorithms of the future to help companies reach their financial goals.
- Researching, analyzing and forecasting market trends to make modeling decisions
- Developing and implementing complex quantitative models and analytical tools
- Partnering with mathematicians, computer engineers and physicists to build favorable strategies
- Interpreting data and presenting results to leadership, stakeholders and clients
- Providing recommendations to help reach financial targets and business goals
Digital transformation is a hot topic in the fintech space, making technology adoption a top priority for organizations today.
The financial services industry flourishes on informed decision-making, from extending credit to consumers to evaluating risks.
In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have helped businesses make fast and critical decisions with data and insight. Across the industry, organizations have turned to these technologies to transform their business through AML pattern detection, chatbots, risk management, fraud prevention, network security and investment predictions.
43% of organizations report struggles with AI strategy, and 42% report a shortage of AI talent.
While these innovations have improved efficiencies and processes greatly, human experts like machine learning engineers, data scientists, developers and researchers are needed to manage, develop and oversee artificial intelligence and machine learning. The capabilities within these technologies are tremendous and cross multiple disciplines. Prospective job seekers in this field can expect one or more of the following AI duties in fintech depending on the profession.
- Applying knowledge of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and deep-learning algorithms
- Using program languages like Python, C++, Java and more to build platforms
- Developing predictive models and applying NLP to large data sets that provide information gain
- Building, launching and supporting AI solutions
- Researching new methods within NLP and reinforcement learning
How to start my fintech career
The fintech industry is thriving. Innovation continues to transform this field and will do so for the foreseeable future. Job seekers eager to become a part of this growing domain are those who seek to redefine traditional methods with evolving technology. From programming to AI and beyond, a STEM career in fintech is abounding with endless opportunities.
Cybersecurity, AI, application development, risk and compliance and data science are hot areas with a significant shortage of talent. Anything job seekers do to gain experience will be valuable in reaching their career goals. To learn more about expanding STEM job markets and how to break into emerging fields, check out our Ultimate STEM Career Guide.