Interested in Fintech?

By Grace Athy and Lauren Coury

With the rapid growth of fintech, you might be curious to learn more about the industry. This article provides a brief overview of fintech and how to enter the fintech industry, including how to build skills, gain relevant experience during your time at Duke, and research entry level roles.

What is Fintech?

In short, fintech stands for financial technology. It refers to technology designed to enhance and expand the delivery and use of financial services. The aim of fintech is to provide companies, business owners, and consumers with access to traditional financial services in new and innovative ways, which seek to make financial transactions more accessible and cost-effective. While fintech mostly includes software, algorithms, and applications for desktop and mobile, it can also comprise of hardware.

The concept of fintech has been around since the 1880s with technology such as ATMs and online banking. Traditionally, fintech has been known to automate such financial tasks as paying bills, depositing checks, and transferring funds between accounts. Modern fintech is seen as facilitating complex concepts such as blockchain, application programming interface (API), artificial intelligence, and data analytics. Fintech involving machine learning and artificial intelligence has prompted the emergence of a high-tech financial services business with cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

How to Enter Fintech

With it being such a multi-faced industry, the common ask is how one enters the world of fintech. Fintech professionals have a wide variety of educational and professional history. Also, roles in fintech vary based on your education, experience, and skills. Here are some skills that are recommended or required in fintech depending on what companies and roles you are interested in.

Skills to develop

Technical Skills

  • Software development: Python, SQL, JavaScript, C++, C#
  • Data science and machine learning
  • Blockchain
  • Product management
  • Cybersecurity

Employability Skills

  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Communication (verbal and written)
  • Collaboration

Understanding the skills associated with fintech can help you elevate when researching careers, you can use skills such as blockchain and cybersecurity as key words when you are searching for internships or jobs on platforms like Handshake. You can get the most out of your search by using different combinations of filters and key words.

1) Take workshop through the Innovation Co-Lab’s Roots Program on topics such as Python and JavaScript.

2) Join a student club related to fintech after researching clubs on Duke Groups.

3) Gain an online fintech certification or training via LinkedIn Learning or Coursera.

4) Network with faculty or alumni on the Duke Alumni Directory in the fintech industry.

5) Pursue an internship in fintech or at a startup company after searching for opportunities on Handshake.

Entry Level Roles

A crucial component of any job/internship search is knowing what roles to look for within an industry. Within the fintech industry specifically, there are a few entry-level job roles to use as a framework when beginning your search. See below for those examples with descriptions and necessary skills for each.

Financial data analysts play a crucial role in analyzing large sets of financial data to extract meaningful insights. In this role, you will be responsible for collecting, organizing, and analyzing financial data using various tools and software. You will work closely with finance and technology teams to ensure accurate data interpretation and provide valuable recommendations for decision-making processes.

  • Possess strong analytical skills and a good understanding of financial markets.
  • Proficient in programming languages and spreadsheet software.
  • You can expect to gain exposure to data science, machine learning, and predictive modeling.

A fintech product specialist acts as a liaison between software developers and end-users, focusing on product management, customer support, and user training. In this role, you will be responsible for understanding and translating customer needs into actionable requirements for the development team. You will also assist in product testing, troubleshooting, and ensuring a seamless user experience.

  • Possess excellent communication and problem solving skills.
  • Solid understanding of software development lifecycles, user interface design, and customer support.
  • Basic knowledge of programming languages and financial concepts.

In the fintech industry, compliance with regulatory standards is of utmost importance. As a compliance analyst, you will play a vital role in ensuring that all operations align with legal and regulatory requirements. Your responsibilities will include conducting risk assessments, developing compliance policies and procedures, and keeping abreast of changing regulations.

  • Must have strong eye for detail and possess excellent research skills.
  • Solid understanding of financial regulations, such as KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering).

With the increasing dependence on technology in the fintech industry, cybersecurity has become a top priority. As a cybersecurity analyst, you will be responsible for protecting sensitive financial data and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of systems. You will assess vulnerabilities, monitor network traffic, and respond to cyber threats promptly.

  • Possess strong understanding of cybersecurity protocols, encryption techniques, and common cyber-attack methods.
  • Proficiency in cybersecurity tools, such as intrusion detection systems and vulnerability scanners.
  • Stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends and obtaining relevant certifications will enhance career prospects.

A business development associate plays a crucial role in driving growth and expansion within the fintech industry. You will be responsible for identifying and establishing potential business opportunities, nurturing client relationships, and contributing to sales strategies. Additionally, you will conduct market research, analyze competitor trends, and collaborate with cross-functional teams to expand the company’s market presence.

  • Possess excellent communication and negotiation skills.
  • Be highly proactive, self-motivated, and possess a strong business acumen.
  • Good understanding of financial products and services, along with ability to identify emerging market trends.

Log into Handshake to begin your job/internship search or book an appointment with the Career Center’s staff to further this conversation.

This article references information that can be found on,,,, and

By Lauren Coury
Lauren Coury Career Advisor