From the outside, the tech industry can look like a homogenous sector, populated either by entrepreneurial whiz kids or bearded computer ‘geeks’. However, as with most industries, once you get beneath the surface, it becomes clear that the people who inhabit the tech industry are a varied bunch, utilising different skill sets and working in sub-sectors that have little in common. One of these sub-sectors, financial technology (or fintech), is attracting a range of talent, particularly workers who, in the past, may have been attracted to investment funds, law firms, or accountancy practices.
Fintech image from Shutterstock
Michael Backes, co-founder of European innovation laboratory Liquid Labs
The Benefits of Fintech
What is it about fintech that is drawing talented people from professions that are seemingly so far removed from the tech industry in terms of required skills and a completely different professional mentality? The answer, in my opinion, is a range of factors that make the fintech industry professionally fulfilling and, for want of a better word, exciting.
The startup culture
Tech startups are renowned for generally having company cultures that give staff freedom and responsibility in equal measure. Fintech startups are no different, and provide a stark juxtaposition to the stifling corporate mentality and bureaucracy of most financial institutions. For graduates that are attracted to the financial sector but are wary of the ‘City’ culture, fintech startups provide the best of both worlds. In a similar vein, seasoned financial professionals, who have grown tired of the drawbacks of working in a big corporation, can find a new lease of life in a startup.
The sheer diversity of work
As mentioned before, fintech is changing, or to give it the proper tech buzz word, ‘disrupting’ every aspect of the financial system. Consequently, there are a huge range of fintech startups. The variety of work also means that a huge number of different skill sets and backgrounds are sought by employers. In short, no matter which area of work interests you, there should be a fintech startup that suits.
Remuneration in the financial, legal or accountancy professions is notoriously healthy. While the majority of jobs in fintech companies won’t come close to these high salaries, the possibility of playing a major part in turning a startup into a global player is real. The next decade will see plenty of big exits by fintech startups, making a lot of people very rich and influential.
Fintech is impacting your way of life
It may sound hyperbolic, however, the reality is that money and fintech are deeply embedded in everyday life. Fintech encompasses everything from mobile payments and online banking to company logistics. Innovation is taking place across almost every sector of finance. It’s easy to see why ambitious people are being attracted to fintech projects that could have such profound long term consequences.
What Shouldn't I Expect From Fintech?
Of course, working in such a dynamic and interesting industry comes at a cost. The work is hard and the pressure high. Employees entering the sector under the impression that their work-life balance will be significantly better than in other traditional professions will be sorely mistaken. When it comes to building platforms and launching products, all-nighters are the norm.
Fintech startups usually live and die by how well their first product is received. Failure doesn’t mean going back to the drawing board, it more often than not means that the startup goes bust. Working within a very small team also means that there is nowhere to hide when things go wrong.
If the thought of a lot of responsibility scares you, a fintech startup is not for you. However, if you’re ambitious and up for the challenge, then the rewards of working within a fintech startup are unparalleled, in my opinion.
This article originally appeared on Lifehacker UK.