When the Dow drops 800 points in one day and global banks announce layoffs in the tens of thousands, economists and financiers start to get nervous. While the warnings about an imminent recession may be premature, businesses are tightening their belts. For some industries this could mean budget cuts or a slowdown in manufacturing; for others, including the financial services industry, it often means the shedding of jobs.
What can financial professionals do to protect themselves from perilous swings in the job market? These professionals can do the very thing that banks are doing to survive in the digital economy: They can innovate. Just as banks are beginning to adapt to a tech-driven economy, so too must individual banking professionals arm themselves with the tech skills needed to thrive in the same fast-moving digital environment.
Few banks today are pillared structures of stone with steel-reinforced vaults that house bars of gold. Nowadays, they are storehouses of financial information and trackers of financial data; they are, in essence, technology firms. And they are investing in their financial technology, or fintech, at a rapid rate. According to Accenture research analysis, nearly $100 billion has flowed into fintech ventures since 2010. And consider these stats from a 2017 report by PwC:
- 77% of financial institutions will increase internal efforts to innovate
- 82% expect to increase fintech partnerships in the next three to five years
- 77% expect to adopt blockchain as part of an in-production system or process by 2020
It is clear that now is a critical time for financial professionals to gain the fintech skills that employers need. To meet the urgent demand, Trilogy Education has partnered with Rice University in Houston and Columbia Engineering in New York City to launch the country’s first two fintech boot camps, designed to quickly upskill a vital workforce that is experiencing the challenges and opportunities of an industry undergoing digital transformation.
With these inaugural fintech boot camps, professionals will learn the core languages and technical skills relevant to fintech. Practical skills-based training will include
- analyzing stock movement using financial APIs in Jupyter notebooks
- creating predictive models for stock prices with time series analysis using Python
- building a decentralized identity system using blockchain technologies
- applying machine learning algorithms to analyze sentiment scores for cryptocurrency news
- using TensorFlow and Keras to build deep learning neural networks to predict financial outcomes
- developing an AI-driven robo-advisor capable of providing financial services with minimal human intervention
Students in other Trilogy-powered boot camps are already making an impact in the financial sector: as a cyber professional at the Royal Bank of Canada, as a web developer at a fintech start-up, as an applications system engineer at Wells Fargo, and more.
“Technology and data are fundamentally transforming the financial services industry. The groundbreaking Columbia and Rice fintech boot camps powered by Trilogy will help meet the sector’s growing demand for a digitally skilled workforce,” said Dan Sommer, CEO and Founder of Trilogy Education. “We’re proud to partner with Columbia and Rice to provide learners with the critical reskilling and upskilling training they need to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of employers in the financial services industry.”
In addition to technical classroom instruction from industry professionals, boot camp participants will receive career-planning services including access to trained coaches, recruiting assistance, portfolio reviews, webinars, and employer events. The Rice University FinTech Boot Camp and Columbia Engineering FinTech Boot Camp are open for enrollment now. Additional fintech boot camps with other Trilogy university partners are expected to launch next year.
The ups and downs of the financial market may not always be predictable, but one aspect of the industry is certain. Technology is the currency of the 21st century, so financial professionals should invest as much of themselves in fintech as they possibly can.