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Working In Fintech: 3 Key Questions Answered

From mobile payment apps, to online shopping, even taking out a loan or buying insurance, you’ve probably used some form of technology that’s made your financial life a bit simpler.

But have you ever stopped and wondered what it would be like to work in fintech, to be on the frontlines of an innovative and exciting industry?

There are three questions to ask yourself that will lead you onto a rewarding career path:

  • Where is the biggest market for fintech employees?
  • What kind of jobs are the most in demand?
  • Why should you work in fintech?

 1) Where are the biggest markets for fintech employees?

A career in fintech could take you all over the world. The reality is that where ever there’s a strong financial services sector, a growing financial technology market is not too far behind.

Saying that, there are some fintech hubs where fintech employees are in greater demand. The UK fintech market is worth US$8.5 billion and the number of employees working in fintech stands at around 61,000, expected to grow to 100,000 by 2020. A large proportion of this activity relates to London, where well over 40,000 individuals work in the fintech industry.

Much has however been said about UK’s decision to leave the EU and many industry experts believe London will lose its crown to other European cities.

Amsterdam on the other hand has no such problems. It might not be on many people’s radar when it comes to financial technology but it is showing a lot of promise to become the next big fintech hub. The city has one of the strongest finance sectors in Europe, with over 230,000 professionals working in it. The growing fintech industry employs 15,000 people in well-developed segments like payments, e-commerce and trading. Another strong force in Europe, Germany as a whole employ upwards of 13,000 individuals in fintech.

Looking across the ocean to North-America, the most prominent markets are San Francisco and New York. New York in particular is where the partnership between finance and technology is flourishing, earning it the nickname “Silicon Alley”. The New York fintech industry is worth over US$7.2 billion, with more than 57,000 individuals working in the sector. And although San Francisco is known more for technology than finance, the fintech industry is growing in “Silicon Valley”, with a market size of US$6 billion and a workforce that is 74,000 strong.

Asia as a whole has seen the most dramatic growth in fintech opportunities in recent times. The total financial technology market doubled in this region from $5.2 billion in 2015 to a staggering $11.2 billion in 2016. The strongest markets here are China, Hong Kong and Singapore but India and Australia made some significant contributions.

It is evident that you are spoiled for choice on location when looking for a job in fintech.

2) What kind of fintech jobs are the most in demand?

Fintech is an all-encompassing, collaborative term that includes many sub-categories of technology and roles that you can dip your feet into. Whether it’s P2P lending, insurtech, crowdfunding, digital banking, money transfer or the popular mobile payments sphere, all these industries are looking for high-calibre, enthusiastic candidates. And as the technology evolves, so too does the opportunities within the different sectors.

If you are good with numbers then a financial modeller or quantitative analyst might just be the position for you. These guys crunch numbers and produce financial algorithms, mostly to try and make sense of the turbulent economic markets or to identify the most profitable revenue stream.

A programming language like C++, Java or python is extremely high in demand and if you are an expert in one of these, you will find many companies happy to hire you. There’s a plethora of roles and sectors within fintech than you can get into with language programming skills.

Software engineers and developers are equally high in demand as many fintech hubs are experiencing a skills shortage in these two areas. It’s reportedly listed as some of the most difficult roles to fill in fintech.

Another area is of course the technologies used within fintech. If you know a fair amount about AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning, NFC (Near-field communication) or blockchain, your appeal will skyrocket with employers.

It is worth it to remember that, just like any other organisation, fintech startups are businesses and because this industry has seen explosive growth, there’s a multitude of traditional roles available. Sales managers, HR, marketing executives and accounting personnel are as in demand (if not more so) than any other industry. As long as you’ve got a hunger to challenge the status quo, you are a perfect fit for the financial technology market.

3) Why should you work in fintech?

This is the most important question you should ask yourself. There are many advantages to working in fintech and you won’t have to try very hard to convince yourself.

As mentioned before, it’s a growing industry with no signs of slowing down. Your skills will therefore be in high demand and with that comes job security.

Talking about skills, fintech at its core is an innovative industry. It is a breeding ground for creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, where people are encouraged to push through borders. Part and parcel of working in fintech means you will develop new skills or build on existing skills to become an industry expert.

There’s something for everyone in the financial technology job market. You will therefore be working with diverse but like-minded individuals, most likely in an exciting and lively part of the world like New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Johannesburg, London and many more.

Finally, there’s the small matter of salaries. Money is not the most important aspect when looking for a job but nobody wants to work for free. Fintech salaries have been shown to be well above the national average in most countries. In London and New York for example, many top financial executives (read bankers) are jumping ship to fintech. That in itself speaks volumes.

Conclusion

Fintech is an innovative and exciting space to be part of at the moment. In fact, as long as the financial services industry exist, financial technology will be there to make it better and more user-friendly. It’s not surprising then that many entrepreneurs and job seekers alike are looking to exploit the advantages that this appealing industry holds.