What Is Fintech? A Guide to Fintech Courses and Careers

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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on October 27, 2023

If you’re curious about working in the fintech industry, check out top degree programs at Shorelight universities that qualify international students for growing global careers.

What is fintech? Financial technology, more commonly known as fintech, combines the concepts of finance with modern technology to create new ways for businesses to improve and automate financial services. While fintech started in banking and was widely adopted across the industry, the field has since grown to encompass fintech startups and has been integrated into operations and strategy at think tanks and in academia. 

With the fintech industry projected to grow 16.8% by 2028, students pursuing a degree in fintech have many opportunities for rewarding careers.

Read on to learn more about the field of fintech, potential career prospects, and fintech courses available at Shorelight universities.

Why Pursue a Career in the Fintech Industry?

Companies and organizations across various industries apply fintech to many of their operations and processes, including products and services such as mobile banking, digital payments, online loans, automated advisors, blockchain, and more. Roles can focus on developing new products, or optimizing existing products and services to improve efficiency, accessibility, and user experience. 

As a result, there’s a strong demand for professionals who have the expertise and skills needed to develop and improve fintech applications — which means lucrative salaries and high-growth prospects for graduates who have taken and mastered fintech courses. 

So, how do you get started with a fintech career? Employers are looking to hire professionals with a deep understanding of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and blockchain, along with industry-specific skills that help fintech startups and other companies analyze and interpret complex data. 

Let’s take a closer look at the types of skills fintech employers are looking for and how fintech courses can fast-track your career.

What Skills Can You Gain From Fintech Courses?

Fintech courses provide a strong foundation of skills in both finance and technology, which can be applied to such fields as finance, banking, insurance, investment, payment systems, regulatory compliance, and more. As you build your skills in these areas, you can also work toward specializing in a specific industry to streamline your career progression and stand out to employers.

At Shorelight universities, you can pursue undergraduate and graduate degree programs in an international student-friendly environment as you explore your specialization in fields such as:

  • Accounting

  • Banking

  • Brand management

  • Business analytics

  • Corporate finance

  • Cybersecurity

  • Economics

As fintech is usually one component of a finance or computer science degree program, you can take fintech courses that lead to a concentration or specialization. Depending on your degree, these skills can include:

  • Business intelligence

  • Data analysis

  • Design thinking

  • Finance

  • Legal awareness

  • Problem-solving

Understanding fintech involves combining your knowledge in multiple areas of finance and technology, including the importance of fintech to business operations and how it links to global financial markets. Your successful fintech career starts with your university degree program. 

Here are some Shorelight universities with fintech courses looking to enroll international students like you.

Shorelight Universities Offering Fintech Courses

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University offers a four-month fintech certificate program through its online platform, LSU Online & Continuing Education. This certificate program covers financial technology and how to effectively use it to drive innovation in multiple fields; coursework covers hands-on projects, case studies, and collaborative projects with peers.

  • Certified Fintech Professional Certificate — Through this three-course program, you can flexibly build your skills in areas you want to focus on as you learn how financial technology can be used to streamline transactions of various industries. 

Rutgers University Camden

Ranked #61 among the Top 100 Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report, Rutgers University–Camden offers a fintech graduate certificate program through their School of Business. During the program, students can develop their knowledge in blockchain, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and more, gaining an in-depth understanding of financial technology and how to apply it in practical scenarios. 

  • Modern Financial Technologies Certificate — This certificate can serve as a standalone qualification or as a supplement to your degree. Learn fintech tools and technologies, such as automated investment advisory, cryptocurrency, international asset allocation, and more. Expert faculty share valuable insights into the current developments in the industry and discuss how technology impacts financial transactions in businesses and macroeconomics.

UMass Boston

UMass Boston, ranked #118 in Top Public Schools and #98 in part-time MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report, offers a graduate fintech program with instruction from expert faculty recognized for their experience in finance and technology. Students explore novel technologies and emerging trends, and create innovative solutions to challenges in the fintech industry. 

  • Master of Science in Finance — Expand your understanding of investment management, quantitative finance, fintech, data science in finance, and risk management with this master’s program. Graduates of this program are eligible for up to three years of Optional Practical Training (OPT), providing valuable work experience at companies such as State Street, Fidelity, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

University of Utah

Ranked #105 in National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Utah encourages students to engage and collaborate with a driven startup, tech, and innovation community. The David Eccles School of Business provides students with three pathways to a fintech education: 

  • Electives — Choose one or more elective fintech courses including introduction to global fintech, new venture finance, fintech workshop, and more. These electives provide a deeper understanding of core fintech fields, such as blockchain, data analytics, and financial cybersecurity, helping students develop a specialization and tap into niche roles in fintech.

  • A minor in fintech — Supplement your chosen degree with a minor in fintech and gain in-depth knowledge of key concepts such as distributed ledger technology, digital assets, and open finance.

  • A finance major with a fintech concentration — Pursue a finance degree with a fintech concentration and learn about data analytics, blockchain, risk management, and financial innovation. Develop proficiencies in identifying financial strategies, developing innovative solutions, and understanding different fintech concepts.

At Shorelight universities, you can also access internships, career skill workshops, and OPT guidance to help you advance your career in fintech. As a fintech graduate from a top-ranked university in the US, you can explore a wide range of professional pathways to apply for jobs in financial institutions, fintech startups, and more.

Career Opportunities with a Fintech Degree

The fintech industry is expected to reach $493 billion by 2028, increasing career opportunities for fintech graduates with skills in data analysis, machine learning, programming, and cybersecurity. While employers want strong technical skills, they also value applicants who are creative, can communicate well, show strong leadership skills, and can negotiate effectively. 

The salary you earn in the fintech industry can vary based on the organization, specific role and responsibilities, and your level of experience. Here are several popular fintech careers and their expected average salaries in the US, China, India, and Brazil.

App Developer

App developers specialize in creating mobile, tablet, and smartphone applications for a variety of uses, from financial services and online shopping to fitness tracking, video games, and more. In the fintech industry, app developers design and build user-friendly, secure, and efficient software applications that may include features like budgeting, payment systems, investment platforms, and personal finance management. 

As an app developer working in fintech, you can look forward to working with a team of designers, project managers, financial analysts, and other developers. You should be familiar with financial processes, data security, and user experience design as you work in teams to design applications that meet the needs of a business’s customers. 

Here are the average app developer salaries in the US, China, India, and Brazil:

Average Salary in the US

Average Salary in China

Average Salary in India

Average Salary in Brazil

Source: Payscale, 2023

Blockchain Developer

Blockchain developers are software engineers who design, build, and maintain systems to organize and manage information on blockchains, which are a type of shared database where information is stored and linked together. As a blockchain developer working in fintech, you may be responsible for building blockchain blueprints, working with cryptocurrencies, and creating apps that allow for transparent digital transactions, identity verification, and asset management. 

While exact requirements depend on the role, fintech graduates who work in blockchain require strong programming skills, knowledge of cryptographic algorithms, and a deep understanding of blockchain frameworks like Ethereum. 

Here are the average salaries of blockchain developers in the US, China, India, and Brazil:

Average Salary in the US

Average Salary in China

Average Salary in India

Average Salary in Brazil

Source: Glassdoor, 2023

Data Analyst

Data analysts are responsible for organizing, analyzing, and evaluating information extracted from data to find patterns, trends, and correlations that can be used to make key financial, operations, marketing, and human resources decisions. 

As fintech data is usually connected to a large amount of financial data and statistics, it is important to have strong skills in attention to detail, statistical knowledge, problem-solving, communication, and machine learning. You may also be required to develop risk management plans, propose investment suggestions, optimize financial processes, and identify fraud.

Here are the average salaries of data analysts in the US, China, India, and Brazil:

Average Salary in the US

Average Salary in China

Average Salary in India

Average Salary in Brazil

Source: Payscale, 2023

By pursuing your degree at a Shorelight university, you can work toward becoming a fintech expert with support at every point of your study abroad experience. From application assistance to finding the best-fit fintech program, internship opportunities, and more, Shorelight experts are ready to equip you to become a successful graduate and fintech professional.

Reach out to a Shorelight advisor >