by Sylvain Kalache

Finance disrupted, tech it or leave it

Jun 09, 2017

breaking chain / shedding constraints / breaking boundaries
Credit: Thinkstock

Software is disrupting (eating?) our world. That’s something that has been going on for quite a while now at the scale of our fast-changing world. As the tech industry is leading our economic growth, there is something that many of us do not realize about these “tech companies.”

Amazon is not a tech company but a retail one, Facebook is not a tech company but a media one, Lyft is not a tech company but a transportation one…

“Tech companies” used to operate only within the space of slow, basic, bulky electronics and personal computers. But with the rise of Internet, they became much more than this. Software innovation is the engine that is powering the next generation of successful companies. And obviously, the finance world is not exempt of this disruption.

The fintech industry, which is composed of companies making a heavy use of technology, is rapidly developing new markets and opportunities, and the possibilities are endless: from cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin rose higher than gold) to microfinance that is changing the way business happens in developing economies like India, Africa or China.

Now the fintech industry is booming and attracting VC funding. According to CBinsights, in the span of 4 years grew from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $13.1 billion in 2016, or a 500% increase. Some of the leading finance companies have already joined the trend: Goldman Sachs hired more Software Engineers than Facebook and JPMorgan Software does in seconds what it took lawyers 360,000 hours.

2017 report on fintech trends from CB Insights CB Insights

But the fintech revolution will only thrive if there is a qualified workforce to make it happen, and the industry is suffering from a lack of qualified talent, some fintech companies even have to relocate to hire the talent they need. According to Indeed study, 40% of open UK fintech positions requires digital skills. So what does it mean for the finance workforce? First of all, someone who wants to work in the finance industry must understand the digital shift that our world is experiencing. Secondly, to plan for a successful career in the fintech industry, one must stay up-to-date on the latest Tech innovation. This requires professionals to keep learning and to have a creative mind to come up with innovative solutions and for products they are building and problems to be solved.

Unfortunately, the structure of our post secondary education system doesn’t fully prepare our professionals with the skills for which companies are looking. While the rate of change in our professional world is accelerating, iteration cycles for adding new classes to a curriculum often take years. Resulting in graduates arriving on the job market with an obsolete skill set. The most prestigious organizations might manage to maintain an appropriate rhythm, but they are reserved to an elite that only train hundreds a year, when companies are hungry for thousands of talent and the whole industry constantly need to be retrained.

This is what Centre For Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is trying to solve. Founded by Finance veterans Huy Nguyen Trieu and Tram Anh Nguyen, the initiative aims to train the next generation of highly-skilled finance professionals. “Many finance professionals and young graduates realize that the industry is changing at at breathtaking pace” says Huy, CFTE CEO. ”In the past, a solid initial education was sufficient to have a great career in finance, but today it’s essential to constantly learn and acquire new skills in the new world of Finance 2.0.”

The initiative will train students how to be lifelong learners on the foundation of finance while keeping them up-to-date on the latest innovations.

“Our education will be a blend of continuous online learning, workshops and in-class training with Finance, Fintech and Software industry leaders,” said CFTE Co-Founder Tram Anh. “Software, having a very central place in the finance world, will be an omnipresent topic that CFTE students will have to understand but also practice.”

The online platform will use adaptive learning to satisfy busy professionals. On top of offering content and workshops, CFTE wants to focus on community with the motto: “in a tech world, we bet on people.” Professionals working in banks, insurance companies, startups, accelerators, venture capital and tech companies will take part of curriculum design and student coaching.

As a software veteran and Co-Founder of Holberton School of Software Engineering, I am honored to be joining CFTE Advisory Board.

The first modules are scheduled to be available online in September, in the meantime, you can subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on Twitter!