Best Degree Courses to Study for a Career in Fintech

Study Fintech in Malaysia

Study Fintech in Malaysia

What are the Top Degree Programmes for Graduates to Work in Malaysia’s Financial Technology (Fintech) Industry?

  • Is the Fintech career a good choice in Malaysia?
  • Why students need to choose course that’s related to the Fintech industry?
  • Job growth in Malaysia’s Fintech industry is growing exponentially and there is a strong requirement for Fintech graduates & professionals to take up roles.
  • Find out what are the top degree programmes that students should choose to study in order to work in the Fintech industry

The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation globally, including Malaysia. With the rapid pace of online consumerism, banks are playing catch-up in this space. In addition, more companies looking to adopt new technologies to support and automate their business, the FinTech industry is certainly growing. Malaysia has seen many companies, local and foreign, setting up a company in this area. This has in turn increased compliance and governance job opportunities as companies quickly align with the new regulations from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Job opportunities in the country within sectors such as financial services and fintech improved during the second quarter (2Q) of 2022, said global recruitment specialist Michael Page. Jobs in financial service and fintech rose 46% during this period.

The recruitment firm also highlighted that similarly, job opportunities in technology have seen double-digit growth as Malaysia stays committed to the Industry 4.0 agenda. The earmarked areas are within cybersecurity, data analytics, Big Data and cloud technology, it said. With increased activity within mobile, app and web development, the demand for UI/UX expertise has spiked together with experience in front end, back end and full stack development.

Individuals interested in careers in FinTech must have solid technical skills in both traditional and emerging tech competencies.

As the term Financial Technology implies, it is a combination of Finance and Technology, therefore, graduates are needed from both Business and Computing fields to work in the Fintech industry. Graduates intending to work in the Fintech industry need to be flexible and possess both technical and financial knowledge to apply into their job roles.

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A Career in Fintech, the Future of Jobs in Malaysia

Mr. Lonnie from EduSpiral, guided us in our confusion of which course to take that has a high job demand & salary and after the counseling, we decided on Fintech. Bryan & Wen Kai, Fintech at Asia Pacific University (APU)
Mr. Lonnie from EduSpiral, guided us in our confusion of which course to take that has a high job demand & salary and after the counseling, we decided on Fintech.
Bryan & Wen Kai, Fintech at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Technologies such as 5G, blockchain, edge computing and virtual reality will fuel digital integration into everyday life such as financial services. New skills will be required of Malaysia’s graduates to face the challenges to stay relevant in the complex careers of the Information Age. In order for graduates to possess a promising future career, they must choose courses in industries such as Fintech, that are the future of jobs.

The fintech umbrella includes insurance technology (insurtech), regulatory technology (regtech), financial data APIs, payments, banking, and mobile banking, among other types of technology. Each category represents a distinct category of finance-specific technology.

The explosion of the internet and the mobile internet has catalyzed the rapid development of financial technology. Even lumbering, highly regulated and highly cautious industries (such as insurance) have begun to embrace the innovative opportunities for enhanced effectiveness offered by fintech solutions.

Data from Bank Negara Malaysia shows that mobile banking transaction value has grown seven times in the past five years whereas e-money’s transaction value has grown more than double in the same period. This indicates that Malaysian are increasingly becoming more comfortable with using mobile financial services.

With the interest in the FinTech industry in Malaysia growing at such a pace, there is a strong requirement for Fintech graduates & professionals to take up roles. Also, thanks to the tendency towards the cyber security trends in the market in banking and insurance and the digitalisation of transactions, companies are also looking for candidates with both experience and recognised qualifications in data analysis.

What is Financial Technology (Fintech)?

Financial Technology or Fintech is an umbrella term that encompasses all institutions that provide and employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industries. Fintech is the technology used to augment, streamline, digitize or disrupt traditional financial services. It refers to software, algorithms and applications for both desktop and mobile. FinTech can include everything from straightforward mobile payment apps to complex blockchain networks housing encrypted transactions.

FinTech Growth in Malaysia

EduSpiral advised me to study Finance because it had high job demand & salary. Darren, Finance & Investment Graduate from UCSI University
EduSpiral advised me to study Finance because it had high job demand & salary.
Darren, Finance & Investment Graduate

Malaysia’s FinTech industry is one of the most developed in Southeast Asia. The government has also offered funding to upcoming innovators in the country’s fintech industry. There are a few entities that specifically finance the FinTech industry:

  • Malaysia Debt Ventures Berhad
  • Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd
  • Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd

Furthermore, in 2022, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has unveiled the 5 consortiums that will be getting a digital banking licence in Malaysia, as approved by the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The advent of digital banking in Malaysia stands to not just disrupt the country’s financial and banking industries, but also jumpstart other fintech and digital payment companies in the same ecosystem. Malaysia will become just the second country in ASEAN to issue digital banking licenses, after Singapore, which issued four in 2020.

In addition to digital banks, the sector’s emergence stands to uplift associated services, such as e-wallets, digital investment platforms, and budgeting services, as well as other businesses seeking to integrate digital payment options into their platforms.

In line with the 5 strategic thrusts stated in the Financial Sector Blueprint 2022-2026, BNM will continue to work with the financial and fintech industries and relevant stakeholders to continuously enhance access to financial services throughout the country and across all segments of society.

Over the years, fintech has grown and changed in response to developments within the wider technology sector.

  • Digital banking : Digital banking is easier to access than ever before. Many consumers already manage their money, request and pay loans, and purchase insurance through digital-first banks. This simplicity and convenience will likely drive additional growth in this sector, with the global digital banking platform market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent by 2026.
  • According to The Edge Markets, the transaction value per capita increased from RM550,703 in 2016 to RM668,785 in 2018. The volume of e-payment transactions per capita rose, from 97.5 in 2016 to 124.6 last year. At the same time, reliance on cheques had reduced; the transaction value and volume per capita for cheques fell from RM52,646 in 2016 to RM44,215 in 2018 while volume reduced from 4.2 to 3.1.
  • The Fintech industry of Malaysia has also grown with regard to the demand of Fintech companies in the country. A stunning 125% increase in mobile banking transactions were reported in 2020, with over 100% increase in E-remittance in 2020. This growth has allowed the fintech market of Malaysia to be able to challenge the markets of other countries and present itself as a major player in the regional fintech scene.
  • Developments and changes to the Digital Laws of Malaysia also serve as proof of the growth of fintech in Malaysia. In December 2020, the central bank released a licensing framework for digital banks.
  • According to the Hays 2018 Salary Report on Fintech Jobs in Malaysia, the Malaysian finance technology (Fintech) market grew steadily over 2017 driven by new technology innovations and regulatory change.
  • The central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, is working to raise the profile of FinTech amongst financial firms and insurers to improve the quality and efficiency of the country’s financial services sector. This push has created more job opportunities for candidates in the emerging technologies space including mobile and the web.

Is Fintech a Good Career in Malaysia?

Foundation in Business into Finance at Taylor's University
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Chun Tim, Foundation in Business into Finance at Taylor’s University

As FinTech gains momentum year-on-year, there is a huge demand for professionals with specific FinTech skills.

For the most part, however, the demand for skilled professionals far outstrips supply; with one LinkedIn report predicting that the global skills gap for candidates with relevant experience and expertise

With the industry projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, talented FinTech professionals will be quickly snapped up for their unique skills and capabilities.

The adoption of technology and AI-driven approaches in the financial sector has never been more of a priority. With all this development investment, careers in FinTech, now more than ever, are providing lucrative opportunities for finance, tech and business experts.

What are the Job Roles in Malaysia’s Fintech Industry?

Accounting & Finance at Taylor's University
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Chew Ling, Accounting & Finance at Taylor’s University

Job demand for Fintech in Malaysia & globally is high and keep rising. Salaries and remuneration packages for Fintech graduates are very attractive as well. Fintech graduates will be ideally suited for positions that require strong quantitative and technological skills in the financial services industry.

Prospective career opportunities in Malaysia include investment and commercial banking, insurance, asset management, Internet finance, government regulatory agencies, FinTech startups, and so on.

Graduates can also pursue further advanced studies in finance, management sciences and engineering, computer sciences, information engineering and related fields.

The Financial Technology (Fintech) degree course will give students a mix of theory and practical skills and experience in order to support the growth of this vital sector in our economy. Now more than ever businesses need employees with the knowledge and skills to advise on how they can grow within the financial services sector.

Blockchain

As blockchain becomes a more viable form of economic transaction, FinTech professionals should have a firm grasp of its language and architecture. In particular, understanding the data structure of blockchain can help FinTech professionals develop more efficient blockchain systems.

Programming

Knowledge of a range of programming languages, such as Python, Java, C++ and SQL, is crucial for FinTech professionals. A background in these languages can allow professionals to develop key FinTech elements like user-responsive websites and mobile apps.

Compliance

Because FinTech’s regulatory parameters are still being settled, FinTech professionals must be able to adapt to evolving rules to operate ethically and minimise risk. Their work may even help shape the foundation of a long-term compliance strategy.

AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence can be applied to websites and mobile apps to enhance customer service, improve security and detect fraud. Solid AI and machine learning skills can help FinTech professionals build smart systems that meet consumers’ needs.

Data science

FinTech professionals with strong data science skills can create risk models, analyse customer behaviour and forecast future trends.

App development

FinTech thrives on intuitive applications that allow customers to interact with them with ease. FinTech professionals should have the capacity to build apps that are simple to use yet sophisticated enough to handle complex commands.

FinTech business analyst

The role of the business analyst is difficult to pin down – it means different things to different organisations. The International Institute of Business Analysis describes it as follows:

A business analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders to elicit, analyse, communicate and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies and information systems. The business analyst understands business problems and opportunities in the context of the requirements and recommends solutions that enable the organisation to achieve its goals.

Now you can see why a career in FinTech requires so many different technical and soft skills!

As a FinTech business analyst, you could be working as a product manager in a scrum team, delivering enhancements to mobile banking apps. You could be developing analysis and business cases for vendor selection and partnership agreements in new business opportunities.

In this role, you’ll be working in a collaborative team, communicating with stakeholders and driving technology towards achieving commercial goals.

FinTech strategy analyst

Lindsay Davis is an American strategy analyst who’s recently been promoted to Director of Intelligence. She has built her career on advising management executives on the competitive landscape, go-to-market strategies and product roadmap prioritisation.

Davis describes her business’s driving force as, “turning data into actionable strategies as a vital resource that the industry needs to build the next generation of FinTech.” Her career as a strategy analyst evolved from graduate studies in economics and international business.

Portfolio analyst

While the strategy analyst applies industry analysis to business performance, the portfolio analyst brings a sharper focus and applies it to portfolio performance. This role varies from company to company, but that portfolio is likely to belong to an institutional investor, a fund manager or an asset allocation.

Portfolio analysts tend to have a stronger financial background so they can understand how financial metrics and regulatory or legal restrictions can impact a portfolio. They also need above-average communication skills as they may be explaining portfolio performance to clients, as well as their superiors.

Investment banking analyst

Investment banks like Macquarie Group and UBS help large companies or organisations to manage their money and financial transactions. They may facilitate initial public offerings (IPO), issues of new securities to raise capital, or mergers and acquisitions. Investment banking is a demanding job with a lot of responsibility, but it also comes with some handsome compensation.

Investment banking analysts use massive amounts of data to build a better picture of financial consumer demographics. They also conduct deep research into specific industries – so you might be focusing on healthcare, manufacturing or emerging markets.

Despite the heavy focus on data and analysis, investment banking analysts spend a lot of time communicating. On one day you may be writing reports for an IPO prospectus document. The next day you may be speaking in front of a room full of retail or institutional investors.

Blockchain developer

LinkedIn kicked off 2020 with the news that blockchain is the most in-demand skill in Australia – as well as the United States and most of Europe. That’s no surprise to the Australian Government, whose own report revealed that there are 14 job openings for every blockchain developer in Australia.

Blockchain developers have high level technical skills, starting with front and back-end web development. On top of that, they must have a deep understanding of data structures, cryptography and smart contracts. It’s these self-executing smart contracts that make blockchain’s distributed ledger so powerful – they are contractual agreements between different parties literally written into the code.

Degrees With a Focus on FinTech

When it comes to traditional degrees, more colleges are offering degrees with a focus on fintech as the field grows. These programs allow students to learn the specifics of a traditional finance major while developing the technical skills that may be potentially valuable in fintech. The degree programme at a private university in Malaysia will take 3 years to complete.

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