What Is It like to Work in Fintech? We Asked Industry Pros at Slush
Mash goes Slush
Fintech companies come in many shapes and sizes: there's small and nimble, innovative and expanding, or plain big and powerful. Or they can be never-before-seen hybrid mixes of all of the above. Fintech is also an industry that draws in many upcoming talents.
Have you thought about working for a fintech company? Well, if you haven't, you should. Right now, fintech is the field to be. We chatted with industry professionals at Slush 2018, and they told us everything you need to know.
What kind of people and skills are needed in fintech right now and in the near future?
Saara Iija, Country Head of Finland at Mash: We need developers, obviously. There’s a high demand for software development professionals in any industry, but in fintech we are looking for those people who understand both the tech and the business side of things.
Paride Forte, Customer Success Manager at Rimilia: Some great input comes from people with experience from the financial industry; they are great at presenting the story of that journey that we need to resolve. Another thing we need is people who can interpret behavioral patterns within our customers. At Rimilia, for example, we have a number of data scientists working with AI that enables them to predict payment behaviors.
Teppo Jansson, Head of Mobile and Emerging Payment Solutions at Nordea: We need all kinds of professionals. That’s a slightly boring answer, I know, but what people should keep in mind is that you don’t need to have worked in, say, banking to enter the field; you just need to be a talented professional and have the right kind of attitude. That’s what we’re on the lookout for.
Petra Mengelt, Head of B2B at Mash: You don’t necessarily need a banking or tech background. But you need to be enthusiastic about what you do; whether it’s coding, finance, customer service, customer experience, be passionate about it. When there’s a good match between our values and the employee, we can learn and grow together.
Image by Jussi Hellsten / Slush 2018
Are there key skills you should have already when entering fintech?
Iija: Fluency in English is a demand as we work in such multicultural teams. Another key thing is understanding technology. Even if you’re not a developer, it helps to see the big picture about the tech you are working with: how hard it is to implement some of the changes you’re looking to get done, what demands there are, and so on.
Mengelt: Not necessarily. We at Mash are right now growing at a speed that we can offer jobs for people with very different kinds of skills. So in that sense I’d say there’s no strict criteria, at least nothing that you should let limit your interest if you want to get into fintech.
Forte: For me, one of the most important things is communication! You need to be able to communicate effectively with your customers, with your staff, with your managers and to understand the nature of their problems.
Jansson: It used to be that you could be a developer and never had to speak to anyone. Now, you have to communicate a lot with other devs, product owners, and the whole team. Not everyone needs to be an extrovert, but everyone should be able to communicate.
What is the thing that makes working in fintech different from other fields? What makes it a special industry?
Iija: Compared to other tech fields, fintech is a pretty well-regulated industry. There’s constantly new regulation coming up and previous ones being revisited and tightened. So it’s very important to understand what you can and cannot do when you’re working at a fintech company.
Forte: It’s a new industry and it’s quite a unique industry. I think many companies are starting to see that it’s a great time and a great opportunity to get into it as there aren’t yet that many players on the market.
Tomas Marty, Chief Sales Officer at Mash: The payments industry changes sometimes so quickly, and the behavior of people is really interesting. But I also always remember how much time it took for cards to become contactless. It took years and years to change the mindset of people. I think we're changing mindsets so I think that's good.