Short for ‘Financial Technology’, ‘FinTech’ refers to any business that adopts technologies like Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and data science to digitise, automate or augment traditional financial processes.
FinTech companies provide a wide variety of services, including online payments and banking, loans, credit scoring, stock trading, and many more.
Born out of the intuitions of a few visionary entrepreneurs, in the last decade FinTech has disrupted one of the most regulated industries in the world, becoming one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in Europe.
The cryptocurrency market is now valued at nearly $3 trillion (€2.9 trillion), and out of the world’s ten largest financial institutions, five are FinTech companies.
Prompted by staggering advancements in digital technology, easy access to Venture Capital funding and favourable regulations, the Fintech industry has managed to attract a large customer base that had lost trust in the traditional banking system after the 2008 financial crisis.
This explains why many traditional banks and financial institutions have been among the earliest supporters of this technology, acquiring or heavily investing into FinTech brands to stay competitive in a fast-changing industry.
The worldwide digitalisation of finance shows no signs of slowing down and the numbers are there to prove it: the 225 largest FinTech companies employ 300,000 people worldwide and are estimated to be responsible for 40,000 job openings next year.
If you’re a technologist looking for the next career opportunity, a FinTech job may well be your top choice, especially if you’re based in Europe.
Europe is one of the world’s most competitive FinTech centres, with FinTech establishments here attracting higher shares of international funding than the United States and Asia.
Historically, the Tech sector in Europe has thrived thanks to the financial stability of its market, which can also count on a constant supply of highly skilled entrepreneurship and talent.
More recently, three events have accelerated FinTech growth in Europe:
Although London remains Europe’s FinTech leader, the UK’s departure from the European Union in 2016 led to the relocation of several tech establishments to mainland Europe.
Competitors in Germany, the Netherlands and Malta have taken advantage of this situation, attracting growing numbers of FinTech entrepreneurs and securing rounds of funding from international investors.
This goes to show that the Fintech industry has wide margins of growth across the whole of Europe.
An EU directive aimed at encouraging financial innovation and competition across Europe, the PSD2 has greatly stimulated FinTech innovation by creating open access to the financial data of banks, as well as a more integrated and customer-friendly payments market
High rates of technological innovation and a digitally active population have further contributed to Fintech growth in Europe.
After all, Europeans are well known for quickly adopting new technologies, and online banking is no exception: presently, this is one of the most popular payment methods in Europe, especially in fast-adopting countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Europe hosts an estimated 40,000 fintech establishments, which were responsible for 8,000 job openings last year.
Despite these favourable numbers, a lot of FinTech companies are struggling to find FinTech talent due in some part to the relative infancy of the technology and the industry itself.
The fact that Fintech companies haven’t been around for very long, means that many jobs in the industry did not even exist up until a few years ago. Because of this, a lot of job titles have yet to be standardised.
Consequently, FinTech employers often need to create positions that are specific to their own organisation and may have no direct equivalence elsewhere.
In fact, it is not uncommon for the same job title to involve completely different duties across different FinTech organisations.
To complicate things even further, job requirements vary greatly across the nine key sectors of the FinTech industry:
To make your life easier and help you with your job hunt, we have divided the FinTech job market into 3 broad categories: Engineering, IT & Operations, and Data Science.
Engineers play a key role in most FinTech organisations because the industry is heavily reliant on software-based technology.
The core duties of a Software Engineer involve constructing, developing, modifying and maintaining software systems as per the stakeholder requirements.
Fintech employers expect candidates to have previous work experience in the industry, which may vary from 2 years for junior roles to 10 years for more senior positions.
Some of the most common Engineering jobs titles to be found in the Fintech industry are: Front End Engineer; Back End Engineer; Full Stack Engineer; Platform Engineer; Machine Learning Engineer; Solutions Engineer; Data Engineer; Security Engineer.
Although skills are specific to each and every job title, there are some hard skills that any engineer should have.
Knowledge of the computing framework Spark and the programming language Scala bring some of the highest salaries.
Other top-paying technologies include the database management system Cassandra, the programming language F#, and the open-source framework Hadoop.
If you lack coding experience, there are many online resources that can help students without a background in technology, such as:
Possibly the Tech sector par excellence, IT & Operations maintains the digital infrastructure of FinTech companies, ensuring that in-house systems run reliably and consistently.
IT & Operations professionals are involved in a wide range of day-to-day operations, from addressing user responses to managing system backups.
This is possibly the one sector where job responsibilities do not vary significantly across different Fintech sectors and establishments.
IT & Operations candidates are generally expected to be skilled in LAN administration, server management, and client record agreement maintenance.
They should also have experience in SQL, Python and Excel.
Besides having strong hard skills, IT professionals are expected to have excellent communication skills, as their job involves a great deal of interactions with colleagues and customers who have little understanding of technology.
Common IT & Operations positions in Fintech include Consumer Operations; Insurance Operations; Fraud Operations; Business Operations; Operational Risk.
Big Data has had a huge role to play in the growth of the Fintech Industry.
After all, data management and processing is the core advantage of this industry, which enables it to constantly revolutionise traditional financial services.
Consequently, data scientists are in high demand, with Fintech employers looking for candidates who can handle both structured and unstructured data.
Data scientists need a solid understanding of data modelling, relational databases and statistical analysis and strong analytical skills, including SQL, R, and Tableau.
As more and more big data comes from emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data scientists need to stay up to date with emerging trends to qualify for newer roles such as Data Strategist, Data Specialist and IoT Specialist.
Knowledge of automated/AI-modelled decision-making processes is definitely a bonus.
Employers highly value data mining skills, as well as working knowledge of data cloud tools like AWS, Azure, and GCP.
To improve your CV, you may also want to gain experience in neural network algorithms, in-memory data grids, data security and open-source streaming frameworks such as Kafka, Spark and Flink.
Some of the most common Data Science job titles in FinTech include Data Analyst; Data Engineer; Data Quality Analyst; Big Data Engineer; Data Scientist; Analytics Manager; Data Automation Developer; Business Intelligence Analyst; Data Infrastructure Analyst.
Originally designed for the digital currency Bitcoin, blockchain technology is associated with a set of algorithms aimed at saving, distributing and accessing digital information in a secure manner.
The adoption of blockchain technology has grown significantly in the last few years, with the global blockchain market valued at $5bn (€4.9bn) in 2021 and expected to hit $34b (€33.2bn) by 2026.
The possibilities of application for blockchain technology are revolutionary, and virtually limitless, hence the rising need for specialists who can manage the development of this platform.
According to Glassdoor, the demand for blockchain jobs grew by 300% in 2019.
Besides Blockchain Developer, other popular blockchain jobs in the field are Blockchain Web Designer, Blockchain Quality Engineer and Blockchain UX Designer.
The obvious first step to become a Blockchain Developer is to be a developer, and then learn about blockchain technology.
A Blockchain Developer should have an in-depth understanding of peer-to-peer networks and some of the most popular Blockchain consensus mechanisms like Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
Another must-have skill is cryptography, given that the most popular application of blockchain technology is cryptocurrency.
It is also important that a blockchain developer has a working knowledge of hash functions, authenticated encryption and message integrity, as well as an understanding of Block Ciphers.
To write efficient codes for blockchain, you should also be familiar with basic architectures like MVVM, MVC, Document-View Architecture, MVC, and Microservices.
Now that you’ve learned how to navigate the FinTech job market, you need to choose a location for your job hunt.
Opportunities here are wide and varied, with many European cities emerging in the last few years as up-and coming FinTech hubs.
These secondary tech hubs include Dublin and Vilnius, as well as cities in Estonia, the Nordics and Malta.
Having said that, you may want to concentrate your job hunt on Europe’s top five FinTech hubs:
If you’d like to find out more about these tech cities, you should have a look at our recent article The 2022 Guide to the Top 5 Tech Hubs in Europe.
This guide contains detailed information about the local tech scene in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Stockholm, including the latest available data about market composition; top employers; job openings; salary levels and quality of life.
If you have any further questions and would like to speak to one of our specialised FinTech consultants, reach out to April Risbridger – just email: email@example.com.
We are niche technology recruitment specialists matching diverse and innovative technology teams with the most sought after, hard-to-reach, talent.
If you would like to find out more about working with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
And hey, if you found this guide helpful, please don’t be afraid to share it on your social networks!
Ruggero Galtarossa is a PHD Researcher with a background in Journalism and Sociology. He studied at Cambridge University, England, and has worked as a content creator for Incubeta, an international team of experts in marketing, technology, data, and creative. He currently works as PHD Researcher and technology writer.