How DCU is Plugging the FinTech Skills Gap
The rise of financial technologies (FinTech) is opening the world to a host of new possibilities – but it also creates both business and organisational challenges for established players in the financial sector.
Technology and Financial Services have always gone hand-in-hand. However, advances in digital technologies, combined with changes in customer preferences and financial regulation, have dramatically increased the speed of change in the last decade. Technology is now not only a support to financial products and services but an integral part of them. As a result, the financial ecosystem has grown significantly and now includes a large number of innovative FinTech start-ups and technology companies, working against and alongside established financial institutions.
FinTech is transforming how financial service providers interact with their customers. Key enabling technologies such as cloud computing, social media, mobile, big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and blockchain, are facilitating unprecedented levels of innovation in financial services. FinTech products are now a feature of everyday life for Irish consumers. It is commonplace to settle your dinner bill among friends using Revolut. PayPal and Stripe are household names for payments processing. Irish businesses now have alternative market places to source financing, such as, peer-to-peer lending platforms like Linked Finance.
A 2018 Enterprise Ireland and Ernst and Young report found that over 7,000 people work in the Irish FinTech sector. This figure is expected to rise to 10,000 by the end of 2020, according to a 2019 A&L Goodbody report. Despite the impressive growth, the availability of skilled talent is the most frequently cited challenge in the market.
Financial services professionals increasingly need to understand how digital technologies may impact their day-to-day job and to anticipate future opportunities and challenges that these digital technologies may generate. “Data is the new oil” as the saying goes and so too are skills related to the technologies advancing the future of finance. In response to this need, DCU Business School has developed a unique microcredential course, “FinTech – Financial Innovation”, delivered online through DCU’s new and exciting partnership with Future Learn, a leading online education platform.
Professor of Finance Mark Cummins is leading this programme at DCU along with his colleague Dr Pierangelo Rosati, Assistant Professor in Business Analytics. Cummins says, “Digitalisation impacts those of us working in education too and we have entered this partnership to help meet the fast-growing demand for career-long, flexible learning designed to be accessible to busy professionals. This demand is clear to us from our industry partners who we see grappling with the pace of change brought about by FinTech and who are seeking to upskill their teams with relevant, flexible programmes that quickly train staff with the most up-to-date content. Our flexible, technology-enhanced programme ensures that professionals stay up to date and allows us help companies plug the skills gaps that are currently a challenge, as they aim to further the development of FinTech initiatives”.
Dr Rosati adds, “The programme focuses on the main themes of FinTech: crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending; blockchain and cryptocurrencies; and banking and payments. Participants will learn about innovation in the financial services industry through the adoption and application of new technologies. They’ll be able to evaluate the competitive and collaborative opportunities that exist for established financial institutions and start-up FinTech firms”.
Participants in this programme will complete a microcredential course worth 5 ECTS credits and receive a postgraduate-level certificate award from the DCU Business School. The microcredential includes formal online assessments and meets the standards set by the Common Microcredential Framework (CMF), part of the European Qualification Framework. The advance of FinTech and Ireland’s ability to capitalise on this requires the attraction and development of talent. The new employment landscape arising from digitalisation and the emergence of FinTech has been acknowledged at governmental level and identified by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs in 2017.
Future Jobs Ireland 2019 notes the shifting demands of the labour market, the need to embrace technology and enhance the skills needed to grow our economy through flexible, lifelong learning programmes. The recently-announced Human Capital Initiative (HCI) sets out to enhance skills, develop and attract talent to Ireland and support core competencies in digital technologies, with €300 million pledged to higher education programmes meeting priority skills needed for enterprise.
Dr Rosati adds, “It’s clear that in addition to the FinTech skills shortages identified by both industry and government the FinTech phenomenon poses a challenge to many existing jobs and a picture emerges of a financial services sector that needs to be prepared and informed in all elements of FinTech. Our new programme does just that.” More information on this programme can be found at https://business.dcu.ie/fintech-financial-innovation/