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India Ahead In Fintech Skills, But Overall Proficiency Has Slipped: Top 5 Skills Candidates Need To Polish To Boost Career Opportunities In The Sector

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By Dr Sudhendar Hanumantharao, Academic Advisor, Manipal Global Skills Academy

A recent Global Skills report drawn from data of 100 million users of the platform highlighted the fact that while Indian students improved on skill acquisition in the crucial fintech sector, the nation slipped in overall proficiency in Fintech. Now it’s well known that Fintech is the fastest growing segment of the financial services domain over the past decade. The report also showed that while Indian students were strong in the technology domain, they were not so strong in the business and data domains.

While the data and conclusions have been drawn from a single platform, they can be seen as broad indicators given the overwhelming popularity of online learning platforms. In light of these trends, what are the top skills and knowledge that students (beginner and experienced in IT and finance) must focus on to boost career opportunities in this booming sector?

Fintech is a technology-driven field. So technical skills are an essential component of finance professionals. This would include the latest in tools, technologies, and platforms relevant to the finance industry and some knowledge of the technology trends that may have a profound impact on the industry. Below are key technologies and trends driving Fintech in the near future:

1. Artificial intelligence

2. Blockchain (and smartcontracts)

3. Cloud computing

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

5. Open source, SaaS, and serverless architecture

6. No-code and low-code

7. Hyper automation

Further, information is a vital asset of the Fintech industry, and protecting information is paramount. Hence, expertise in information security (security architecture, security tools, monitoring, security audit, cryptography, etc) will continue to be in increasing demand.

The finance industry, including Fintech, is a heavily regulated field in general. Hence, expertise in compliance, audit, and governance is another essential tool for Fintech professionals.

While technical skills are a must for Fintech professionals, the depth of expertise required and the associated knowledge of the overall ecosystem depends on the actual role played by a professional in the industry.

A recent paper by the Singapore Fintech Association has identified four major roles in Fintech companies:

– Commercial Evangelists
– Technology Wizards
– Operations Champions
– Corporate Drivers

Commercial Evangelists focus on business developments and the discovery of business applications of the technology developed. Hence, they need to understand the business benefits of applying that technology and market them rather than technical depth.

Technology Wizards are the ‘techies’ who develop and build technical solutions. Apart from deep expertise in tools and platforms, they also need to develop some knowledge of finance so that the solutions they develop are relevant to finance.

Operations Champions are the ones who make it all work. Here, expertise in IT infrastructure, operational aspects of the solutions developed, user experience, and governance issues of the technologies involved will be essential.

Corporate Drivers focus on business management, such as finance, manpower management, and talent acquisition. They need to understand the relevant aspects of technology. For example, talent acquisition professionals must be able to evaluate applicants based on their claimed expertise in technology.

Learners should also focus on gaining some practical experience in development and implementation. Here, classroom-based and job-oriented offerings from specialized skill development players such as Manipal Global Skills Academy (MGSA) may be the right source to acquire in-depth expertise in specialized technologies.

At a national level, it may also be useful to develop a fintech skills development policy and an associated fintech skills development council to ensure that, as a nation, we do not fall behind in this crucial sector.

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