FinTech is short for financial technology; for better or worse, most of us already have some familiarity. From the now old-fashioned ATM that dispenses cash to the credit card a person has added to their Apple Wallet, FinTech’s evolution over the last 40 years has been nothing short of astounding.
Though there’s always some resistance to technology from society’s eldest or least technically inclined, the use of smart devices has driven much of FinTech’s rise in the 21st century. Customers of every type of business have grown accustomed to buying both products and services online, often through a company’s app.
Here, you’ll learn some of the most important reasons for learning FinTech in today’s environment
What is FinTech?
FinTech stands for financial technology. Multinational corporations like Apple and Google offer FinTech services, but many smaller companies specialize in FinTech products and services. Some companies classify themselves as FinTechs, such as Venmo, Stripe, and Robinhood.
Banking as a Service (BaaS), PayPal’s platform, and Ethereum’s platform may be referenced as products or services, depending on the source. While the term FinTech can encompass a bewildering array of services, products, and companies, consider any financial technology under the FinTech heading. Mobile banking, digital lending and credit, financial advisory services, and cryptocurrencies all fall into the category of FinTech.
Read more about what FinTech is and why you should learn it.
What Can You Do with FinTech?
FinTech refers to the many Financial Technology products and services you can use today and some of the companies that offer them. Consider FinTech as an umbrella term referring to three main categories:
- Services - On a basic level, many FinTech services may be considered products, and vice versa. PayPal is a service, but the platform of services PayPal offers may be called a product itself. To simplify matters, look at services that are now commonly provided and named as such: Banking as a Service (BaaS), payment services like Venmo, and investment services like Robinhood.
- Products - FinTech products range from the payment app you use on your smart device every day to robo-advisors and digital banking. Currencies aren’t typically referred to as products, but cryptocurrencies certainly fall into the product category as opposed to a service.
- FinTech Companies - Organizations like Visa and Mastercard top the list of major FinTech companies in the U.S., followed by Tencent and Ant Financial in China, then U.S. companies Intuit, PayPal, and Stripe. These firms offer FinTech products or services, and people generally refer to the companies themselves as “FinTechs.”
Additional FinTech products, services, and technological innovations include wealth management, insurance (a.k.a., “insurtech”), and credit reporting/identity theft protection services.
Common Professional Uses for FinTech
While you might think FinTech as a whole is directly associated with banks, the job market for FinTech workers extends far beyond traditional banking and finance institutions. Not only do services like Square and Robinhood now compete with household names like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, but there are virtually hundreds of startups making names for themselves in the FinTech space.
These companies need well-trained staff, and much of the future of FinTech today looks toward areas of expertise like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and programming languages like Python and Structured Query Language (SQL).
Popular careers for tech professionals with FinTech training include:
- Financial Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Blockchain Developer
- Data Scientist
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Risk Control Manager
- Market Analyst
While some of these positions are typically available in brokerages and banks, other FinTech pros work in startups, hedge funds, mortgage companies, or executive positions.
Reason #1: Rolling With The Changes
There’s an iconic line from the Star Trek: The Next Generation franchise: “Resistance is futile.”
In many ways, this applies to technological changes of all kinds. Television programming met resistance for decades, but hardly anyone calls it the “idiot box” anymore. As recently as 2019, the World Health Organization warned against allowing children under two to watch videos or play computer games. Yet we know it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
With FinTech, the result is much the same. No matter how slowly a population embraces certain technologies, once they become universal, everyone has to learn them anyway. Better to start now than to wind up behind the curve.
Since the 2008 financial crisis brought about by cheap credit and a decline in lending standards, financial institutions have worked overtime to create changes. Some benefit themselves, others benefit customers and clients, and a few may even benefit both. Consider the following trends:
- Advances in technology, data processing, and storage: In the mid-1990s, the average computer hard drive had a capacity of one gigabyte; by 2020, a typical disk drive had expanded to over one terabyte, with some as large as 20TB.
- Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology: While Bitcoin remains the best-known crypto, Ethereum is close behind and offers additional value. Every transaction on the Ethereum blockchain requires a fee that must be paid in Ethereum. Because it’s the platform of choice for many blockchain app developers, Ethereum technology allows developers to build apps that can disrupt various industries.
- Mobile commerce is now designated as Mcommerce, distinct from Ecommerce transactions performed on desktops and laptops. In the U.S., Mcommerce is expected to double its share of retail sales between 2020 and 2025. The market will need to better address top concerns like mobile security, fraud and identity theft protection, and the use of data by third-party providers.
Reason #2: Financial Industries Evolve With The Times
While many changes in business and technology benefit companies’ bottom lines, the benefits to consumers may not be as immediately apparent.
However, the rise of mobile banking is only one of the ways consumers have profited from the digitization of finance. One of the more nebulous metrics is user experience (UX). If banking customers and online shoppers feel as comfortable using an app on their smartphones as when they log into a website, they may consider the experience improved. In the same way, many banking customers in the 1980s appreciated using an ATM rather than waiting in line inside a branch.
Of course, there are downsides to any advance as well. Just as an ATM can malfunction, a website or app will experience technical difficulties. Additional concerns like cybersecurity, including preventing hacking and identity theft, come into play with FinTech in particular. But during times like the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the shift to digital payments, end users may decide that the benefits outweigh any inconveniences.
Real-Time Gross Settlement, or RTGS, is an essential component of modern digital transactions. Thanks to this modern transaction method, the risks of settling interbank payments are significantly reduced. Unlike the days when banks tallied up transactions at the end of a day or week, RTGS systems allow even startups to settle payments instantly. This benefit accrues to businesses and customers alike.
Reason #3: Jumpstarting A Career With FinTech Expertise
You can prepare for an entry-level position in FinTech or data science through a bootcamp, like Noble Desktop’s FinTech Bootcamp or Financial Modeling Bootcamp. These in-depth courses provide training in areas ranging from data validation to financial analysis.
Learning programming languages like Python and Structured Query Language (SQL) can benefit you in multiple careers, including FinTech. Consider the additional skills you can pick up through bootcamp programs, like Scikit-learn, Jupyter Notebook, and Python libraries like Pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib.
Regulatory and Business Implications
The many changes wrought by FinTech hold implications from both a regulatory standpoint and a business standpoint. Let’s look at three final points.
- Big changes keep coming, in all sectors, including:
- Traditional Finance - As banks look to compete with startups, they have to become more agile than ever before.
- Competition - Competition among FinTech products has heated up. Companies like PayPal and Kabbage offer small business loans, Square and Fawry provide merchant lending, and other companies offer credit monitoring, investment services, and various financial products and services.
- Startups - While some startups can beat big tech companies at their own game, there are an increasing number of so-called “zombie” companies that can barely pay the interest on their debt. The slightest move in markets could put many of these companies out of business; for those in the FinTech sector, that means easy pickings for more traditional institutions like JPMorgan, Chase, or Bank of America.
- Big data affects many areas in markets today. While smaller, more agile companies can fill particular needs, big tech companies will continue to compete with them, sometimes buying them out. Decentralized finance, or DeFi, remains primarily outside the traditional financial system and will continue to be a factor (see below). But each change in the traditional system can affect a multitude of factors, including:
- Process efficiency
- Credit analysis
- Risk management
- Product design
- Customer service
- FinTech expertise may now be more critical than ever. Whether or not we have another major financial crisis in the near future, governments and societies worldwide continue to seek alternatives to traditional financial institutions. DeFi, especially Ethereum smart contracts, has benefited people in countries crippled by high inflation, such as Argentina, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
Even in the business world, few people understand more than a handful of the many ramifications of global finance, DeFi, or the rise of FinTech as a phenomenon. Whether one wants to study FinTech to start or change careers or simply become better informed, they should consider enrolling in a bootcamp or certificate program to learn more. One’s financial future may depend on it.
How to Start Learning FinTech
To learn FinTech, you’ll need to have different types of skills: core skills, soft skills, and specific programming skills relevant to the FinTech role you choose. Every student or busy tech professional needs training, and how each person should learn depends on factors like learning style, budget, and availability.
Live FinTech courses, the number one choice for most students, offer a number of benefits. They’re interactive and hands-on; students can get real-time answers to their questions. If you’re interested in live online FinTech classes you can take from anywhere, consider Noble Desktop’s top FinTech options. The FinTech Bootcamp, Python for Finance Bootcamp, and Python for Data Science Bootcamp all offer training in areas like financial analysis, machine learning, and data visualization.
On-demand FinTech training may be another option you’d like to explore. These courses provide students with a self-paced method of learning all about FinTech. Featured topics include database management, SQL, financial modeling, and machine learning, to name a few. Check course listings for details, including any prerequisite information.
Free tutorials, seminars, and blog posts can also serve as a source of FinTech material for beginners. Noble Desktop offers multiple classes, videos, and blog posts on topics of interest to FinTech students. Check out their YouTube playlist for Python, SQL, and Data Science, and look for FinTech articles on the Learn Hub site. While it’s a great way to get started, these resources don’t provide the feedback or portfolio-building you can get from a live in-person or online class.
Read the full guide on how to learn FinTech.
- FinTech is an umbrella term encompassing companies, services, and products.
- Common FinTech products and services include:
- Banking as a Service (BaaS)
- Payment services (Venmo, Stripe, TransferWise)
- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum)
- Wealth management or investment advisory services
- Top roles in FinTech include:
- Data Scientist
- Cybersecurity Analyst
- Blockchain Developer
- Financial Analyst
- Risk Control Manager
- Why learn FinTech?
- Evolution and public adoption of FinTech continues apace.
- Banks, credit card lenders, and insurance companies must keep up with the digital revolution.
- FinTech offers numerous career opportunities in data science, banking and finance, wealth management, and other industries.
- The skills most in demand for FinTech roles include Python, Structured Query Language (SQL), and Java.
Learn FinTech with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop
Some people think there’s only one path to training for a FinTech career, that of a lengthy degree program, but there are other alternatives. Among the most popular is the bootcamp or certificate training model.
Noble Desktop is a leading provider of online education in areas directly relevant to the booming FinTech field. They provide multiple educational options for students, both those who are new to FinTech and others already working in tech. The following are some of their most popular programs.
- FinTech Bootcamp - This comprehensive FinTech course is open to beginners and can be completed in four weeks full-time or four months part-time. Topics include SQL and Python for data science, automation, and machine learning.
- Python for Finance Bootcamp - The 18-hour Python for Finance Bootcamp acquaints students with financial models, managing portfolios with Python, and other Python-centered topics. Students can save by taking this class as part of the FinTech Bootcamp. See course listings for prerequisite information.
- Financial Modeling Bootcamp - A 21-hour program, the Financial Modeling Bootcamp includes topics like Discount Cash Flow (DCF), Leveraged Buyouts (LBO) Modeling, and financial analysis with MS-Excel. Check course listings for details, including prerequisite information.
Other Noble Desktop programs to consider are the Python Programming Bootcamp, Data Science Certificate, and Python for Data Science Bootcamp.