Theory before practice
To begin with, make sure you have a solid grounding in FinTech theory. You can get this from any number of online and in-person courses. This one from the University of Hong Kong is free and will introduce you to the basic building blocks of FinTech so that you can develop your skills from a firm foundation.
If you’re already familiar with the basic concepts of FinTech and want to get ahead of the competition, there are more advanced courses available to you. Among these is the Oxford FinTech program, taught by industry experts who can prepare you for the significant responsibilities of high-level FinTech work.
Hone your people skills
A career in FinTech is more than numbers and theory, you need to be able to interact and network successfully as well. This means developing your soft skills so that, when you interact with potential employers, clients, and coworkers, you’re making a lasting positive impression.
This also means structuring your communication appropriately. Develop a sense for when to be charming and friendly and when to be concise and professional. These are tips common to any career change, but they’re still important to bear in mind.
Network, network, network
In a fast-moving sector such as FinTech, networking is an essential skill that will keep you up to date on new opportunities. Look out for conferences or app launches to keep in regular contact with industry professionals. Keep turning up in these environments and something as simple as learning (and remembering!) names could set you apart from other, less motivated career-seekers.
It’s also important not to get too selfish about your start in FinTech. The sector is buzzing right now, and you’ll likely run into a lot of like-minded people also looking to build a career. Don’t shut these friendly faces off, collaborate with them. You might be able to help each other out with connections or opportunities to learn and develop, and you may end up valuing this early connection down the line.
Moving into a new career – for some of you, a completely new industry – can be daunting, challenging and exhausting. That’s why it’s important to keep reminding yourself of why you’ve made this jump and to follow those passions wherever they might take you. This might be anything from doing jobs you wouldn’t normally consider, to moving to a new city; push your boundaries, stray outside your comfort zone. Having said that, it’s also important to bear in mind that this will take time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and if you push yourself too hard too early you’ll only end up burning out and resenting the career change you were once so excited about.
In a growing industry like this, there are so many directions to choose from that it’s difficult to develop one winning strategy for them all, but these steps are designed to be broad enough to fit almost any FinTech career path. Remember though, these steps are only designed to be a kick-start: soon enough you’ll have to pedal on your own, at which point it’s up to you which direction you go.
Molly Crockett is a tech security blogger for Academized and Essayroo, focussing on how businesses can help protect themselves against the threats at large. Alongside her work, she teaches for Boomessays, and is always seeking ways to help develop writing and research skills in young people.