A Concise Guide To Breaking Into The World Of Fintech
Laura Jade Jackson

Fintech is a sector of the financial industry that has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. In fact, among Europe's seven wealthiest countries, a fintech company occupies one of the top five banking positions in each nation. In addition, fintech has become renowned for its customer-focused approach and the various services it can provide.

As a result, fintech is becoming an appealing career choice for new entrants to the job market, as well as for anyone seeking a stimulating and potentially lucrative career change. But how do you go about breaking into the world of fintech employment if you have no previous experience?

Read on for a step-by-step guide that will help you transition from fintech beginner to full-time job-holding expert - provided you put in plenty of hard work, rigorous research, as well as a significant helping of passion and enthusiasm.

But first, let's explore what we actually mean when we talk about fintech, as the term comprises a diverse range of elements; from cryptocurrency to robotic advisers.

First Things First – What Is Fintech?

Fintech stands for financial technology, and is a term used to refer to the automation of various financial services to help both consumers and businesses more efficiently and conveniently manage their finances.

These days, fintech spans a wide range of industries, providing beneficial services in the fields of education, investment management, and fundraising, as well as many more, although it's most popular – or notorious – focus is probably cryptocurrency, which spawns its fair share of global headlines, for both positive and negative reasons.

Since its relatively humble beginnings, fintech is becoming a burgeoning financial industry sector due to its increasing focus on customer-oriented services. This focus, combined with its willingness to develop and adopt new forms of technology, would seem to indicate a bright future for financial technology, despite the current challenges it faces – such as its particular vulnerability to hacking attacks.

Take Online Fintech Courses

If you are excited by the innovations that fintech has already unleashed, and you are keen to become a part of the industry so you can participate in its future development, the first step you should take is to gain a thorough education.

Taking fintech courses will provide you with a firm foundation of knowledge from which to kickstart your career in the industry. However, it's important to be selective about which courses you take.

For example, it's best to enroll on programs put together by reputable organisations and universities, so you can rest assured that the information you will be taught is accurate and relevant.

One such option is the Fintech online short course provided by Harvard's Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), in association with HarvardX. This course provides an expertly constructed deep-dive into the continually developing world of fintech, and explores the real-life challenges that industry players face as they drive innovation and focus on broadening fintech's services and outreach.

Courses such as this one can easily be slotted around your other commitments, and will hopefully provide you with the grounding you require to help you begin to launch your fintech career.

Acquire Essential (And Highly Marketable) Skills

Once you have a basic working knowledge of fintech and its various innovations, goals, and challenges, it's time to start developing the relevant skills to help you find a foothold in the industry.

Due to the nature of the industry, some of its most in-demand skills include data analytics, software development, cybersecurity, blockchain development, and an understanding of artificial intelligence. Developing these accomplishments will make you a much more appealing candidate when it comes time to find an apprenticeship and set your sights on securing a full-time job.

However, as well as these industry-specific skills, you will also make a more attractive candidate if you have proven 'soft skills' into the bargain. These include the ability to work well as a team, conflict management, empathy, and clear communication. Employees in the fintech industry are also required to be adaptable and resilient, as they will face numerous challenges – including unexpected obstacles – and robust problem-solving skills are necessary in order to come up with effective solutions to these challenges.

Familiarise Yourself With The Current Trends

As well as desirable skills, you will also make a more valuable addition to the fintech job market if you understand the most powerful trends helping to drive the industry forward.

Having a thorough understanding of these trends is vital, as they have a profound influence on the choices made by industry professionals, as well as effecting what kinds of services become most in demand with consumers. Amassing this kind of knowledge will indicate to potential fintech employers that you have a genuine interest in and passion for the world of fintech.

Currently, some of the trends that carry the greatest weight in the world of financial technology in 2023 include embedded finance, alternative financing such as RBF funding, continuing developments in blockchain technology – despite the various challenges faced by cryptocurrency in recent months – and Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives (also known as ESG).

Gain Valuable Work Experience

As well as pursuing a thorough education in the various aspects of fintech, and working on honing your industry skills, you should seek out opportunities to gain first-hand experience. The best way to do this is by pursuing apprenticeships at a local fintech startup.

Becoming an intern at one of these industry startups will provide valuable working knowledge covering every area of a fintech company's business model – from initial development to developing and enhancing its resources and services.

You will also get to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have spent so much time building and, if you perform well during your apprenticeship, you will give yourself the best possible chance of securing a full-time job in the near future.

Launch Your Fintech Career

During your apprenticeship you should be focusing on gaining a particular specialisation in the world of fintech, as each element of the industry requires in-depth skills and knowledge. In other words, it's not the kind of role where it's easy to amass wide-ranging expertise, as each area is deeply complex – from blockchain to artificial intelligence to software development.

As a result, it's vital that you hone your skills in a particular area where you are most proficient, and invest in some more niche qualifications to help you get a job in that sector. Then, once your apprenticeship comes to an end, it's time to start applying for official fintech roles in your chosen specialisation.

To help you find your footing in the industry, don't hesitate to network with other professionals at industry events and conferences. You never know when their help and advice may prove to be particularly valuable when it comes to securing your dream job as a newly minted fintech professional in your own right.


While there can be no denying that the fintech industry faces numerous obstacles, it is also a dynamic sector that is decidedly on the rise.

As a result, if you want to carve out a career in a stimulating, challenging and highly relevant industry, then fintech is surely one of the best options for you to consider.