Fintech is short for financial technology, and it encompasses the myriad of ways that the digital age is transforming the finance industry. The convergence of the internet, mobile phones, the cloud, and other technologies have made it possible to deliver financial services more easily, at lower costs, and in new ways. Understanding the capabilities of fintech, as well as the regulations governing their use, is thus important to understanding finance today whether you’re working at an established bank or a startup.
While the fintech ecosystem is complex and steadily expanding, most applications fall into one of two categories. Many important areas of innovation in fintech are focused on enhancing the convenience and efficiency of traditional financial services, including payment processing, online lending, investment management, and credit technology. However, there is also a growing interest in more disruptive applications that make it possible to bypass legacy institutions altogether, such as crowdfunding investment and lending platforms as well as cryptocurrencies enabled by blockchain technology.
The fintech ecosystem is so wide-ranging that the accounting services multinational PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) breaks down the players into “the As, Bs, Cs, and Ds.” As include large, established financial institutions like Bank of America and Allstate; Bs are big tech companies active in financial spaces, including Apple, Google, and Facebook; Cs are companies providing infrastructure for credit cards and other transactions, such as MasterCard, Fiserv, and exchanges like NASDAQ; and finally, Ds are disruptors focused on innovation in a specific process, such as PayPal, Prosper, and Lemonade.
Having expertise in fintech can help advance your financial services career anywhere in this ecosystem, regardless of your experience or background. If you’re a seasoned professional in banking, investment management, or accounting, fintech can help give you new ways to meet the needs of your customers and clients and stay ahead of your competitors. If you’re coming from a background in tech, fintech is a fast-growing field to apply your skills, whether at an incumbent market leader or at an entrepreneurial venture.
Yes. Coursera offers a wide range of finance and technology courses, including both individual courses and Specializations focused on fintech specifically. And because these courses are offered by highly-ranked schools like the Wharton Business School at University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, Copenhagen Business School, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your education to learn online.
In addition to being able to learn about fintech remotely from world-class universities from wherever you live, the ability to complete course materials on a flexible schedule makes Coursera a perfect fit for working financial services professionals or entrepreneurs working on a startup. These courses are also available at a significantly lower cost than on-campus alternatives, making them a smart choice for any budget.
The skills and experience that you might need to already have before starting to learn fintech could include having some software development in your background. You might also benefit from having experience and skills in DevOps, blockchain development, data security, and cybersecurity, to name a few. These are the hard skills you would be wise to get, as well as having good soft skills like listening, focus, communication, and flexibility. Because fintech combines elements of finance and technology, it would be beneficial for you to have knowledge of how both of them operate. A good education and transferable skills to the industry would also be suitable to have before starting to learn fintech.
The kind of people that are best suited for work that involves fintech are the inquisitive number-crunchers. These are the people who love to work with data and see how numbers align and who have quantitative experience in technology working with data, or in finance working with accounting, ratios, percentages, and analyses. People who aspire to learn fintech can be innovative in their thinking and may want to help change the way financial value is moved around the world. Fintech enthusiasts may be risk-takers, people who want to be part of the cutting edge of these two fields, and have the analytical chops to do the job. The person who wants to understand fintech must be tech-savvy, as almost all of the work in fintech is conducted via cloud platforms and financial software tools.
You might know if learning fintech is right for you if you have a driven approach to learning more about the intersection of technology and financial practices. You might want to also assess your problem-solving skills, because there may be numerous technological and legal obstacles ahead for the fintech industry. You may have basic analytical and critical thinking skills that could help fintech operators become leaders in their industry. With your flexibility, creative thinking, and adaptive methods, you might be the right profile for learning fintech and making it a valuable career step.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.