How to Prepare Yourself for a Fintech Job
By Joe O'Brien, on 26 November 2020
Read time: 4 minutes
Guest blog from Esme Loans
The term ‘fintech’ simply means ‘financial technology’. It describes a broad sector that includes businesses such as personal banking services, cash flow management apps, business finance lenders and more. Fintech companies can be exciting to work in. They’re fast moving (being driven by technology) and are constantly pushing each other to innovate and evolve – not to mention that the sector is growing quickly.
If you’re considering a career in fintech, though, where’s the best place to start? How can you, a budding marketer, accountant, or perhaps a developer, get ready to break into the fintech space and prepare yourself for an entry-level role? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this blog post as we share our tips and insider-insights.
We are Esme Loans, an online business loans provider who are part of the NatWest group. Since 2016, we’ve lent over £149m to 2,210 business owners in the UK, and so we’re well-versed in how the fintech sector operates.
- Get the relevant qualifications
A degree that’s relevant to the type of job you’re interested in is a good place to start. Don’t narrow yourself down based on the specific title of your degree, though. Instead, think about the transferrable skills you’ve gained. With a business degree, you may be well-suited for a marketing role, or a maths degree could set you up to start a career in accounting. Fintech’s typically offer a diverse range of roles that revolve around supporting technology and financial management so take your time to explore all of the options.
What’s more, gaining additional qualifications such as enrolling in courses with Chartered Institutes, undertaking online courses, and evidencing your technical proficiencies (maybe developing a strong GitHub portfolio if you’re wanting to work in web development) could improve your chances of securing that first interview.
- Gain work experience
Undertaking a role that mirrors some of the skills you’ll need for your entry level job could help you prepare yourself for your first fintech role. That could mean an internship, or even working in a voluntary capacity – so long as you’re developing some essential skills you’ll need on the job.
For example, helping a local charity shop manage their finances could prove to be a be useful indicator to prospective employers that you’ll be willing to work hard and build your skillset within their company. Alternatively, a lot of fintechs work with start-ups and small-to-medium sized businesses, so gaining some general experience working within such a business (even part-time) could set you up for a client-management or business analyst role and ensure that you have plenty to talk about in your interviews.
- Research the fundamentals of your discipline
If you can see yourself managing a bank’s operations or developing a revolutionary mobile banking app one day, you may want to kickstart your journey right now by reading three foundational books that most professionals in the discipline will be aware of.
Having a decent understanding of some of the foundational concepts and theories associated with the discipline you’re looking to move into could give you a good base of knowledge that allows you to contribute to team meetings in your first few weeks on the job. With that core knowledge, you can even innovate and get creative with your colleagues, rather than worrying about feeling like ‘the new guy’ for too long.
Don’t stop at books, though. Join online forums, read popular industry blogs, immerse yourself in the latest news within your fintech discipline of choice and keep an eye on what may be cutting edge and potentially game-changing for your employer over the coming months. Hearing that you understand the upcoming pressure points they’ve identified for their businesses could stand you in good stead in an interview.
- Practice your interview technique
There are some interview tips that transcend job roles and disciplines, and it’s your job to master these to give yourself the best chance of securing a role. Key tactics and strategies that every applicant should have in their arsenal include:
- Good eye contact and body posture. This can show that you’re confident, engaged in the conversation and willing to learn.
- Deliberate non-verbal cues. By this we mean nodding softly to reassure your interviewer that you’re listening carefully to them, which can be a good indicator to employers that you’re genuinely interested in their work.
- A natural curiosity. Do your research to understand what projects your prospective employer is currently working on, how their company functions, and who the people are behind the scenes. It will get you excited about the opportunity and will indicate that you’re prepared, have thought ahead and are a self-starter, all favourable qualities to prospective employers.
As an employer, we actively look for a sense of enthusiasm, commitment, and curiosity in those we interview for entry-level fintech roles. We hope that our tips and insights prove useful to you, and we wish you the best of luck with starting out your new journey.