Fintech Careers 101: The Rise of Tech in Finance

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If you work in finance but want to break into tech, have you heard of fintech jobs? The fintech industry is a subset of tech that could be a great fit for people with a financial background. Fintech careers could also be a great fit even if you don’t have finance experience but enjoy the industry.

In this post, I’ll explain the fintech definition, delve into why fintech careers are growing so rapidly, showcase some mini profiles of fintech careers, list some important fintech skills, recommend a few fintech courses, and more.

So if you’re trying to decide if the fintech industry is right for you, read on!

Table of Contents

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What Is Fintech? Fintech Definition

💰💻 What does fintech mean exactly? Quite simply, the term “fintech” is a combination of the terms “finance” and “technology.” There are a lot of these kinds of industry mashup terms in the tech industry, like medtech, edtech, and more.

It’s an emerging industry that leverages tech in finance to improve and automate various financial activities and services.

banking app on phone screen

What are fintech companies typically involved in? When you think of fintech companies, think services like mobile banking, cryptocurrency, investment apps, peer-to-peer money transfers (Venmo, Zelle), online payments, robo-advisors, crowd-funding platforms, budgeting apps, etc.

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Why Fintech Is Important: The Rise of Tech in Finance

According to a recent report, the global fintech market is projected to reach $190 billion by 2026, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7%.

Why is the fintech industry growing so rapidly? Here are a few applications and factors that show why fintech is important now more than ever.

🔓 Open banking

Also known as open bank data, open banking is a practice that allows third parties to access consumer banking, transaction, and other financial data via APIs. 

For example, if you’ve ever used the budgeting app Mint, you may have connected your various bank accounts through the app to view your net worth, balances, spending categories, etc. This is only allowed due to open banking. Open banking has only been around in the US since 2018.

💵 Providing bank accounts to the “unbanked”

Unbanked people are adults who do not have their own bank accounts. A total of 14.1 million American adults are unbanked. This is currently an untapped market that the fintech industry is looking to fill. 

The fintech industry could help bridge this gap and include more people in the American economy by coming up with solutions to make it easier to get a bank account.

🏦 Adoption by traditional banks

Traditional brick and mortar banks are adopting technology at a rapid pace. You probably use your bank’s mobile app, for example. Banks need to stay relevant, so investing in fintech is a top priority right now and in the years to come.

😷 The impact of covid-19

Covid, of course, has had an impact on why the fintech industry is rising. For example, contactless payment options have been an essential way to help stop the spread and has been adopted rapidly. Among U.S. consumers, 19% said they made a digital payment in a store for the first time in May 2020.

contactless payment scanner

These are just a few of the reasons why fintech careers are on the rise. There’s still plenty of room left to grow!

Wondering how to get into fintech? It starts by understanding what kinds of fintech jobs are available and training for the one you want. You can start by taking fintech courses, then consider moving on to getting a fintech internship or fintech certification to help your transition into the industry. As you work your way up, some of the best-paying jobs in finance can be in the tech department!

Here are short profiles of six in-demand fintech jobs. Along with the fintech careers information, I’ll include fintech courses where you can start learning the skills you need for each type of job.

Fintech Job #1. Blockchain Developer

bitcoins on laptop
  • ➡️ Overview: Blockchain developers are software developers who work on blockchain architecture. Blockchain was initially developed for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but it can also be applied in lots of other ways. A “blockchain” is a chain of digital blocks that are stored in a database and serve as a digital ledger where info about a user’s transactions are stored.
  • 💰 Average salary: $154,550
  • 📈 Demand: The share of job postings on Indeed for crypto and blockchain jobs jumped 118% as of July 16, 2021 compared with last year’s low
  • 💡 Skills you’ll need to know: Object-oriented programming (Java, JavaScript), cryptography, database design, computer networking, knowledge of a specific blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum
  • 🖥️ Course: Become a Blockchain Developer Nanodegree on Udacity

Fintech Job #2. Cybersecurity Analyst

  • ➡️ Overview: Cybersecurity analysts protect company hardware, software, and networks from hackers and cybercriminals. They monitor and evaluate threats, identify security vulnerabilities, build ways of encrypting sensitive information, etc.
  • 💰 Average salary: $99,815
  • 📈 Demand: Financial services will always be a big target for hackers because it involves money. Globally, the percentage of suspected financial services digital fraud attempts increased 149% when comparing the last four months of 2020 (Sept. 1–Dec. 31) and the first four months of 2021 (Jan. 1–May 1). That’s why cybersecurity professionals are so in-demand in the fintech industry.
  • 💡 Skills you’ll need to know: Programming fundamentals, security and networking, network defense tactics, logging and monitoring procedures, and more.
  • 🖥️ Course: IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate on Coursera

Fintech Job #3. Quantitative Analyst

quantitative analyst looking at screen
  • ➡️ Overview: Also known as “quants,” quantitative analyst is a great fintech job for people who love working with numbers and are more mathematically minded. They design complex mathematical models and computer simulations that help financial firms price and trade securities. They also use big data and analytics to inform investment decision-making.
  • 💰 Average salary: $131,991
  • 📈 Demand: Quantitative analysts are in especially high demand in trading, as the popularity of electronic trading based on algorithms has grown in popularity.
  • 💡 Skills you’ll need to know: Master’s degree or doctorate, mathematical modeling and statistics, programming language, analysis software packages like Matlab or R
  • 🖥️ Course: Finance & Quantitative Modeling for Analysts Specialization on Coursera

Fintech Job #4. Data Scientist/Data Analyst

data analyst using a laptop

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Fintech Job #5. Machine Learning Engineer

machine learning engineer working
  • ➡️ Overview: Machine Learning Engineers build self-learning applications and software. Credit score estimations, automatic loan approvals, fraud detection, and monitoring regulatory changes are just a few applications of machine learning in fintech.
  • 💰 Average salary: $141,660
  • 📈 Demand: 70% of fintechs are using AI today, and the technology is predicted to dominate the market by 2025, meaning demand for AI/machine learning engineers will only increase in the fintech industry. 
  • 💡 Skills you’ll need to know: machine learning, mathematical modeling, statistics, Python, SQL, and more.
  • 🖥️ Course: Machine Learning Engineering Learning Path on Pluralsight. You can also check out these 13 other machine learning courses!

Fintech Job #6. Mobile Developer

investment app on phone screen
  • ➡️ Overview: Mobile banking apps and investment apps (Robinhood, for example) are growing in popularity. In fact, do you remember the last time you went to a physical bank branch? As the title suggests, mobile developers create mobile apps for Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms. 
  • 💰 Average salary: $119,609
  • 📈 Demand: There are tons of startups and established companies/banks creating mobile apps for various financial services, meaning demand for fintech app developers is high.
  • 💡 Skills you’ll need to know: Depends on if you want to specialize in Android, iOS, or cross-platform, but obviously mobile programming languages (e.g. Swift, JavaScript, Java, Kotlin, etc) are the #1 skill here.
  • 🖥️ Course: iOS & Swift – The Complete iOS App Development Bootcamp on Udemy. You can also check out these 21 other mobile development courses!

What Are Fintech Companies? Examples of Where to Work

What kinds of companies might you be working at if you pursued the fintech industry? Here are some examples of fintech companies and other opportunities for tech-in-finance jobs.

  • Any finance-related startupHere are 58 to explore
  • Traditional banks – Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo
  • Online banks – Chime, Ally Bank, USAA
  • Investment banks – J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley
  • Cryptocurrency companies – Coinbase, Gemini,
  • Trading platforms – Fidelity, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade
  • Payments companies – Visa, PayPal, Square
  • Insurance companies – State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide

As you can see, the fintech industry is extremely broad, and you can narrow down your ideal fintech jobs according to what sector interests you the most.

Is the Fintech Industry Right for You?

Overall, fintech is a hot industry right now and is continuing to rise. There are tons of careers within the industry so there’s something to fit everyone!

There are also certain skills that are similar across most of these jobs: math and statistics, knowledge of a programming language like Java or Python, and so forth.

That said, many fintech careers won’t be all that different from other types of tech jobs. For instance, if you’re a mobile developer, looking for fintech jobs just means you’ll be working on finance-related apps instead of other kinds like games, fitness apps, etc.

Because of this, I’d say the number one answer to “why work in fintech?” is simply if you have a passion for finance! If you like numbers and it makes you feel fired up to help people improve their financial situations using your tech skills, learning how to get into fintech is a wonderful idea.