Why is FinTech So Closed/ Difficult to break into

There appear to be many roles within Finance & Insurance (UK) it appears to be difficult to break into. Any advice/ comments?

For some reason Finance (at least in Sweden) seem to feel that it is so special that you have to have been in finance before in order to do it. (I was lucky in that sense that I started working in one of the banks). It is like Finance only accept finance, but other areas (like retail) can see similarities with finance and their own area.
SUggestion might be to try to get in as an emplyee (but that might be what you are looking for?) - as that is at least somewhat easier than to get in to the financial business for the first time as a consultant/contractor.
My experience, maybe not everyone’s :slight_smile:

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Hi stina_leijonhufvud

Cheers that is something I have thought about.

Have spent time moving across the test space and have a wealth of experience and whilst automation has been the end goal it has never been something that I have had a chance to get my teeth into so moving into a new space will be a challenge to get me going.

Whenever I see a position this is mainly in London, I fit the 90% of the description but wont be put forward because previous clients have not be in the finance space.

As I am at an impasse in my career at the moment I have been considering taking a pay cut or doing some training but don’t feel that will help this situation.

Thanks for your insight, gives perspective.

Can I ask what is the attraction of working for a Finance company? Is the pay better than the average company?

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Hi Seanfittz

Yes in the UK the FinTech does command a much higher salaries or day rates plus compared to other large organisations they tend to use:

  1. later, newer technology (for new features) or
  2. have some very old technology that give polar ends of what is used in the real world (possibly COBOL)
  3. have more complexity in systems they may be integrated with

So over a start up or a company that has been only running for a small number of years, the range of areas and skills to learn are quite varied. After working in both private and public sectors, FinTech this is one of the other industries that present these opportunities.

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Because its really special, you have often complicated not so intuitive scenarios and calculations, mostly related over several days and combined which each others.

When I look it to testers to hire most are only interested into automation (most then also only in UI which not really matters) and are not willing or showing potential to dive into complicated business scenarios, they often only want all things already prepared on a silver tray to programm, to be honnest that I can also outsource cheaper (not to mention the automatic code generation projects, which are so far I know by ~60%).

Then if a person cannot calculate for e.g. procentages, interestets etc its a no go.

Also often finance companies have a high standard in general (best of the best of the best), with that I also have my problems, many tasks ares still for average people.

Maybe do a finance certificate in private if you really want to get into it, I forgot how they called.

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Thanks for this, your point about “the best of the best of the best” I have experienced as Agents wont even pass CVs on if you have not had a recommendation or come from an OxBridge University. These agents have no idea bout testing as some of the specs make obvious but simply will not pass you to the client to make a decision.

People that I know who work in the Finance Sector (not testers) have said they do not understand how some of the IT suppliers get roles/ contracts as the interactions/ soft skills are usually poor and being able to understand E2E scenarios are what they the business are interesting in expressing but there always appears to be a gap.

I will look into what Test based certification might be out there and if it is worth it. With some many large companies going through transitions - even with COVID19, the FinTech will miss out on getting talented competent people to do the job. and in the UK that is sorely needed in the light of Brexit.

I think it would be easier for people to answer this question if you gave a bit of background about yourself and why you feel that FinTech is hard to get into. That way, people could give you a better answer. Its really hard to diagnose problems & suggest solutions without knowing the details.

Fake ex. I have a BSC in mathematics, I have 2 years of solid testing experience, api & web automation. I saw many jobs with 3+ years exp which I think I can do. I got several interviews, but failed OR I applied to 30 jobs & never got any replies. So, why is fintech so hard…?

Ans - Wow ! Your BSC in Math is a plus in fintech. But, your domain expertise is lacking. You can read xyz about finance in 30 days & impress your interviewers. Make sure to mention that in your cover letter…blah…blah.

The point is, if you post vague questions, then you’ll get vague or generic answers at best.

When I was last between roles (four years ago), I never bothered applying for posts in the finance sector because all their job postings emphasised “must have financial sector experience”. These job opportunities were weeded out in my first pass triage of available roles because they represented a waste of time on my part.

This is based on experience. In a previous round of my job search, two years previously, I had only once got as far as a telephone interview for a role in the finance sector. At that time, employers were not so regularly putting that experience requirement into the job postings. What I thought of as my sectorial experience came from analysis work I’d done in an earlier role on company accounts and specifying systems to manage company account data from major utility companies. At that time, I did apply for finance sector jobs, but I only had the one response, and whilst I considered that my experience ticked the “must have experience” box, the lack of response told me that employers in that sector didn’t agree with me.

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I’m surprised to hear FinTech is so difficult to get into in the UK. I’m in the US, working for a clearing company that does financial APIs. We’re the backend for most of the app based investing companies in the US, and I had no industry experience before starting here, and I can’t think of a single engineer who came in with any industry experience. Our parent company is a proprietary trading firm, and they much prefer to hire recent grads than anything else (one criticism might be that they’re a bit of a mill). I know many of our clients tend to also be startups, and don’t expect much/any financial experience from the technical folks.

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@ernie - There is a major difference between the finance sectors in the US and the UK, in that in the UK we have a smaller number of financial institutions - banks and “building societies” (mutual savings organisations whose primary focus is savings specifically for housing loans/mortgages). Investment banking and share trading are concentrated on London for the most part, and are considered a separate sector, especially if you’re located outside of London and can’t manage the increasingly extreme cost of a long-distance commute (let alone the increasingly astronomical cost of actually relocating to the capital. This is almost completely impossible for anyone who has a family to take into consideration.)

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Perhaps there are some Fintech companies which are relatively easy to break into, but I wonder if most are hard to break into. Here are some reasons why I think fintech might be hard to break into.

1 - The domain knowledge is hidden, almost as if intentionally.
There are no useful or practical learning resources like courses on practical Fintech. There is one nonsensical Coursera course on Fintech which has mostly Finance stuff i.e. useless for most tech people or non-tech product managers. Udemy has 2-3 courses on a small area of Fintech such as ACH & Secure payments. Those courses are shallow and poorly taught. There are no company blogs which actually have any useful learning material. Overall, this is good job security for the people who were lucky enough to get a chance to establish themselves in Fintech.

2 - Fintech testing is harder.
Most testing courses are silly and shallow, including the ones on this forum. They don’t even talk about basics of things like encryption and their practical applications in APIs. Most online resources on encryption have long and irrelevant essays on encryption algorithms instead of how will you use it on the job (Automobile engineering is useless to me if all I need is to drive a car). Fintech deals with money & personal information. So concepts like encryption are important and you are disadvantage if you haven’t/can’t learned them. Moreover, many Fintech firms use SQL which most testing courses don’t teach and most testers don’t know or don’t care about. Apparently, almost every testing course is on Selenium.

3 - Many Fintech companies are not prepared for newcomers.
Many of them don’t have any training material on the domain and the tech. They also don’t have any real onboarding plans. Almost all of the ones I interviewed with won’t even give you the time to at least learn the tech skills which are specific to Fintech or the company. It seems they expect people to be born with Fintech knowledge. They won’t consider you unless your first word as a baby was “Secure Payments”. Only few babies are capable of doing that.

Another thing is that most employers are morons when it comes to setting job requirements. They ask for a scientist when they really need a high school teacher.

PS - I have worked in a well known US Fintech company for a few months and it sucks for several reasons. Some of those reasons are mentioned above. Hopefully, I will exit soon and never see the face of a Fintech again unless I become desperate for any job (i.e. in the event of mass economic problems).