5 tips for transitioning from the finance sector to FinTech

Looking to move into the Fintech sector but not sure how relevant your background in finance is? Put simply, it is. Here, Chris Stappard, the Managing Director at Edward Reed Recruitmentshares his top tips for transitioning into this new industry. 

FinTech is redefining the landscape, giving us all new innovative ways of managing our money. But, it's not just the customers of these companies that are benefitting, but also the job market. While traditional financial institutions are automating their processes and using artificial intelligence to become more efficient, the FinTech sector is thriving and creating more job opportunities.

For many people, this means that they're unsure of their future within traditional finance companies and instead are considering making the switch to FinTech. But, with this sector focussing on technology, how do you know if you're a suitable candidate for roles in FinTech? Here, I will be sharing some of my top tips to help you seamlessly transition between finance and FinTech. 

Identify your transferable skills

Though it may seem like new technology is changing the way we approach finance, don't let this put you off from applying for FinTech jobs. There are plenty of useful skills you'll already have picked up from your current job that will be key for success in this new field. For example, being able to efficiently crunch numbers and get your head around complex data to make a business decision is particularly valuable in FinTech. 

Similarly, being equipped with regulatory knowledge about the financial industry, and more importantly what GDPR is and why it's important, will also be expected by any FinTech company you apply to. Not only does this ensure you're protecting their customer base, but also the company's reputation. 

Decide which roles are most suitable for you

While you'll already have taken the time to note down your transferable skills, you'll also need to think about your strengths and weaknesses. This can include looking at your hard skills, like language, numeracy and your ability to communicate, which are key to any job, as well as more finance-based skills. FinTech roles are very varied and can specialise in anything from financial analysis to accounting and risk management, so knowing which sub-sector your skillset corresponds with best will be crucial. 

You'll also need to think about where you should apply. The speed at which the sector is expanding means that there are plenty of companies you could get involved with, however, be aware that not all of them are likely to last. A start-up FinTech firm can present plenty of opportunities for you but are more likely to fail than established companies.

If you're looking for more job security, it's worth knowing that plenty of traditional financial institutions are also looking to remain competitive by improving their FinTech focus. Just remember that there is never guaranteed success, even for the biggest of financial firms. 

Go the extra mile with technology training

While some skills from a financial background will be enough to help you get your foot in the door, it's always worth knowing as much as you can about the sector you're moving into. You don't necessarily need expert-level knowledge, but, having a simple understanding of core aspects will pay off.

There are plenty of training providers that offer courses in data and business analytics, so, if you've identified these as your weaker points, you can work on them. Not only will it impress future employers in interviews, but it'll also show your willingness to learn about the industry and make it easier to adapt to any new role. 

Network with like-minded people

Networking is one of the most powerful tools for boosting your career, so it'll pay to look up interesting FinTech-related events that you can attend. At these, you can make inroads with new connections, who may be able to help you now or in the future. You might even be able to use these events to find somebody to mentor you through the job search and application process. If you get too carried away chatting to get essential contact details, don't be afraid to reach out through LinkedIn. 

It'll also be worth reaching out to old finance friends and colleagues to catch up with where they're at. Who knows, maybe they'll own their own FinTech start-up now or know a company with a vacancy that sounds perfect for you!

Perfect your personal sales pitch

It's not always a given that the person interviewing you for your potential FinTech role will have as much experience or knowledge as you do about finance. And, while it's a must to be able to talk about these things with confidence, interviewers will also be looking for someone who has shown initiative and enthusiasm about joining the business. 

Taking a look at the job description and thinking of an example for each of the necessary skills can ensure you tick all of the boxes in the interview. Plus, suggesting any ideas you think they could incorporate into their business model or services could make you stand out — just don't give away all of your great ideas at once!

Your background in finance can put you in good stead for a career in FinTech. Follow my top five tips to set yourself apart from other candidates and use your existing skills to impress the interviewer for future roles.