Top fintech skills required today

17 November 2017

As financial industry is increasingly experiencing changes, which disrupt the entire landscape of the markets, driven by breakthroughs in the technologies, new startups and established tycoons feel pressing need in specialists trained and skilled in fintech. Below is the overview of professional skills and qualifications strongly sought for by employers.

Machine learning

This skill is listed as the top priority by many experts, as artificial intelligence is increasingly entwined around various financial solutions to improve security features and data analytics. Machine learning is a field of science, where specialists are doing research to manufacture technologies, where an electronic device or a digital solution may learn without constant human intervention, or without direct programming.

Earlier this year Mastercard announced its deal to acquire a San Francisco-based developer of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to integrate its innovative solutions into Mastercard’s financial products. Ant Financial, a holder of Alipay brand, also stepped into the arena disclosing its plans to expand investments into researches associated with artificial intelligence.

Machine learning

Oliver Bussmann, a founder of Bussmann Advisory, noted that machine learning will be driving automation processes with banks set to find personnel with education degrees in this industry as they struggle for their long-standing positions in the market lost to more competitive offerings provided by fintech startups.

Blockchain

Subsequent to growing popularity of Bitcoin after Satoshi Nakamoto’s groundbreaking success in the blockchain industry, blockchain-based projects started popping up all over, while Bitcoin itself continues growing in value. Averse to miss an opportunity, tech giants and financial behemoths realized an urgent need to promptly catch an outgoing train.

Thus, in 2015 Linux Foundation launched a project for open-source blockchains and related tools titled Hyperledger project with some members including R3, IBM, Intel, ABN Amro, ANZ Bank, BNY Melon, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Börse Group, SWIFT, Wells Fargo and many others.

The industry is badly in need of specialists in blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, while blockchain-based solutions are already running beyond the scope of financial markets, penetrating into logistics and domain name spheres.

Cyber-security expertise

As long as people participate in exchange relationship and need payment instruments, money will always be luring plotters to commit acts of crime aimed at misappropriation of assets owned by other people. Hence, security issue will always be crucial for people holding some values. Financial technologies are naturally the most favorite targets for criminals, and accordingly specialists in security assurance will always be in requisition.

“If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, you will be hacked. What’s more, you deserve to be hacked,” said Richard Clarke, a former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States.

“Threat is a mirror of security gaps. Cyber-threat is mainly the reflection of our weaknesses. An accurate vision of digital and behavioral gaps is crucial for a consistent cyber-resilience,” said Stephane Nappo, a Chief Information Security Officer at Societe Generale.

Adaptability

No matter how much education and experience in the technologies an applicant for a fintech job may have got, there is a presumption that the given candidate may be ill-fitted to the mission and goals of a startup. Specialists tend to focus exclusively on the technical skills, neglecting creativity and out of box thinking.

Philip Bourke from Hays, a global recruitment expert, notes: “A fintech company needs someone who wants to think outside the generic IT box; people who can demonstrate adaptability and creativity.”

Adaptability

Communication

It is important to realize that fintech industry is not just all about innovations and technologies, fintech involves more things. Startups need to sell their services and products, and, hence, they need good managers and customer relations specialists, who possess good communication skills, being able to clearly explain the key aspects of the sold solution.

Alex Stepney, Lead Architect at RBC Capital Markets, says: “You need to be able to engage with people. You need to understand their concerns and get them onside.”

Communication skills are naturally associated with problem-solving and teamwork ability, as fintech startups like any other business definitely faces a host of challenges and unexpected events requiring proficiency in addressing arising issues. Besides, fintech business is hardly ever a one man show, in most cases this involves at least five specialists in the team, meaning that a candidate should be ready to get on with people.

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