For some years now the financial services space has become heavily focused on Financial Technology (FinTech). Many entrepreneurial startups have entered (and disrupted) the space, and for the incumbents, the benefits that platform modernisation and transformation bring to their services have allowed them to build competitive differentiation. In Australia alone, just last year CBA announced a massive $5 billion investment into FinTech to cement its position in the market as an innovator.
This announcement was made before COVID-19 struck and transformed the way that customers interact with banks. Now, current reports suggest that there has been as much as a 72 per cent increase in the use of FinTech apps, and prompted financial services organisations to increase their investments in FinTech. As the financial services industry in Australia faces a significant challenge in finding FinTech skills, professionals who possess these in-demand FinTech capabilities are going to find significant career development and renumeration opportunities in the years ahead.
“The financial services industry is facing significant skill shortages, especially in technology. The industry is struggling to attract individuals with both business and technical expertise. This combination of skills can help improve the efficiency of institutions and generate new products and services,” UNSW Senior Lecturer and Program Director, MFinTech, School of Banking and Finance, Luis Filipe Goncalves-Pino said.
“Those with expertise in FinTech can set themselves apart from other job seekers by building a strong knowledge of programming and the ability to handle new and large datasets to help improve financial products and services,” Goncalves-Pino said
Building FinTech skills through UNSW
UNSW Online’s Master of Financial Technology has been designed to address each of these priorities within the financial services sector. In addition to building foundational knowledge and skills, the degree is structured to provide students with the strategic understanding of the role, opportunities and challenges of FinTech. This will assist professionals to demonstrate thought leadership and develop an entrepreneurial mindset towards innovation.
Financial services professionals require a broad range of skillsets to successfully achieve their FinTech goals. These include:
Compliance: As one of the most heavily regulated sectors in Australia, banks and other financial services institutions must understand how to approach technology innovation while remaining compliant. To do so, these institutions look to employ technology experts with an understanding of risk management and mitigation strategies around the use of technology.
Blockchain: As the unbreakably secure basis of cryptocurrencies and other FinTech disruptive innovations, blockchain skills are very high on the list of skills that traditional financial services organisations are keen to bring within the organisation. One report found that demand to recruit those with blockchain capabilities was growing by as much as 30 per cent year on year.
App Development: With apps being the principle vehicle for the delivery of services and the primary way that customers now look to interact with financial services, app development is a skill heavily in demand. From wallets and payments, to lending and support, banks need app developers with a firm grasp of the user experience right through to security and policy.
Data Science: Finally, as with all organisations in all sectors, data is king, and financial services require FinTech experts that understand how to build and manage data lakes, run analytics, and extract meaningful insights from the flood of data they collect.
The Master of Financial Technology program comprises 12 online courses (a Graduate Certificate can be earned at four courses, and a Graduate Diploma at eight), with each course running for seven weeks. The complete masters program can be completed in as little as two years, however, as this degree is tailored towards those already in the workforce, it is also highly flexible. Students are able to complete the program over a longer period of time, and courses are online, so professionals looking to further develop their career through further study can acquire a postgraduate qualification without disruption to their employment.
“The program adopts a project-based approach and continuous collaboration with industry experts to keep up with the changing nature of this space. This can be beneficial for students who are looking to work in or create a startup. This can also equip students with the skills needed to help large institutions develop new products and services to avoid being disrupted by nimbler startups,” Goncalves-Pino said.
In addition to understanding the technical backdrop to FinTech, the degree has a close focus on ethics and governance, and gives students the opportunity to experience real-world applications, participate in “live” examples, and network with industry leaders.
Australia’s FinTech sector will deliver $4 billion in revenue at an annual growth rate of 76.3 per cent by the end of this year. Whether you’re a future entrepreneur spirit and wish to build a startup in this vibrant, exciting space, or give your leadership aspirations within the incumbents a boost; FinTech represents some of the most lucrative opportunities to build your career in the Australian financial services space.
Find more about UNSW Online’s Master of Financial Technology program by visiting their website.