4 Tips to Help You Land a Job in Fintech
Move over dry, tired, traditional financial institutions, there’s a new kid in town!
Fintech is a burgeoning, exciting and quickly evolving industry sector. It’s especially attractive to young, hungry tech-savvy graduates with their minds full of ideas thirsty for a market outlet. Fintech is a breeding ground and springboard for new ideas, innovation and creativity. It’s solutions offer simpler, faster and easier customer services through technology developments. Think internet banking, getting your balance in real-time on your smartphone, turning your smartphone into a digital wallet compared to time-consuming face-to-face teller transactions. So how can you break into this compelling industry? Like any career field, it takes some proper research, experience, skills and knowledge but not necessarily of the degree kind.
1) Make sure you have what’s needed.
Check out what experience, skills and knowledge are prerequisites for entry level fintech start-up jobs. Since there are many different roles within fintech, all with their own skill set and knowledge demands, you will need to research what area you would be the best fit for in terms of your own education, abilities, and interests E.g., operations, marketing, software engineering, IT support, finance assistant etc. For some domains you may only need a basic graduation degree while for others you will need more E.g., a Computer Science or Mathematics degree. Having said this, the most important thing in fintech is that you have the desired skills and knowledge related to money and technology, so if you can demonstrate these convincingly to an employer/interviewer without a degree or certification (CFT), you can still secure a job. Show the interviewer your skills and innovative mindset through projects, coursework, training etc. Companies primarily want to see how you can elevate their company above their competitors thus making you worth the job or internship at a fintech start-up.
Prepare by researching the history of the industry: how it’s developed and what its future looks like before you go down a particular path. Besides, interviewers expect to see some knowledge from your end and start-ups want to hire candidates they don’t need to explain all the ins and outs to.
Knowledge is power. If you lack the relevant work experience, you can gain an edge by doing specific fintech qualifications, such as, a Certificate in Finance and Technology (CFT) which has an office in Hong Kong; or by increasing your knowledge through talking to fintech professionals, watching videos and reading articles about current events shaping this industry. You can also learn more through online fintech courses E.g., HKUx-edX from the University of Hong Kong which requires 3-4 hours per week for 6 weeks.
2) Suss out local tech hubs.
This will give you the best idea of what’s out there for you and whether you’d enjoy that type of work environment, as well as increase your knowledge of the local fintech industry. In Hong Kong there are some great options, including Cyberport’s Incubation Programme for start-up initiatives, FinTech Collaborative Innovation in HK Science Park at the Applied Science and Technology Institute, FinTech Innovation Lab Asia Pacific which runs a 12-week accelerator course for early stage fintech companies. As well, look into attending the various fintech conferences on offer E.g., FINNOVASIA, Money 2020, Bank Tech, FinTech World Forum, Tech Crunch.
3) Build your network.
Fintech events are a good starting point in this regard. Also, add to your network through business social media sites like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook etc., and interacting with fintech professionals.
4) Enhance your skill set.
Fintech start-ups are agile, working under high pressure with tight deadlines. On top of being effective in your specific role, start-up business owners value strong communication and teamwork skills. You will be working with a team of talented people from diverse backgrounds with unique skills in different positions across the company. It’s essential you can get along with everyone.