Average fintech salaries are in the six figures. A talent exec at $5.3 billion Plaid lays out 3 ways to get your foot in the door.
- Fintechs have seen increased interest in light of digital trends accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Jobs at these startups can pay into the six figures starting out, and an opportunity to receive equity in the company, making them attractive prospects for finance industry newcomers.
- McKenna Quint, head of people at Plaid, spoke to Business Insider about three tips that newcomers can use to help land a fintech job.
- Are you a young person working on Wall Street? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected], encrypted messaging app Signal (561-247-5758), or direct message on Twitter @reedalexander.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Fintech is hotter than ever in 2020.
The coronavirus crisis has only intensified interest in the growing financial technology space. From investors to traditional players, engagement with the startups has arguably never been higher.
In addition to growing demand for fintech products and services, another reason why the space may be so attractive is the earning potential it offers.
Nationally, the average salary of a job in fintech, which, albeit, is a large and diverse field, is $113,359, according to ZipRecruiter. That's higher than the average national salaries of jobs that independently comprise elements of fintech: for instance, finance industry jobs ($96,528), jobs in technical development ($78,889), or jobs in banking ($67,330).
And while employees at some traditional financial firms might receive a bonus paid in part in stock-based comp, the potential upside for equity awards can be far lower compared to an up-and-coming startup with a skyrocketing valuation.
So, if you're considering getting your start in fintech right out of school, it's a good time to explore opportunities, McKenna Quint, the head of people at Plaid — a fintech that is set to be acquired by Visa for a deal worth $5.3 billion — told Business Insider in an interview.
"I think this is a great time," Quint said. "Companies have certainly made adjustments to their hiring priorities, but we're starting to see some companies post more roles."
Read more: Investors say these 38 fintechs are the next generation of breakout B2B stars, following in the footsteps of Stripe and Plaid
"We're starting to see that uptick, which makes it an exciting time for people to put their application in, for sure," she added. For its part, Plaid, which links banks accounts to other fintechs, is currently hiring for 30 roles, ranging from software engineers to product designers.
Quint shared her top tips for scoring a fintech job out of college with Business Insider. Here's how to get started.
College majors aren't a major problem
Don't sweat your undergrad major, Quint said.
"What you majored in is less important now," she said, as is having an advanced degree. "Speaking from my own experience, I was an English Lit major," said Quint, who held various roles after college including a stint as a paralegal, working at the hedge fund Coatue Management, before ultimately landing at Plaid.
Plaid's head of engineering, Jean-Denis Greze, is a Harvard Law grad. And while Greze also has an undergraduate and masters degree in computer science from Columbia, having a pure tech background isn't an absolute requirement to work in fintech.
"There's folks on our engineering teams who had careers in opera," she added. "There are folks that we've hired who don't have advanced degrees or even college degrees and have been successful at Plaid."
See more: How to use cold emails to land a gig working on Wall Street, according to a JPMorgan banking analyst turned VC who did it herself
The point: If you're already well into college or have just graduated, your specific major, especially if it was in a non-technical or finance-related field, shouldn't be the deciding factor in whether you pursue a fintech career. Those with non-traditional backgrounds still have the chance to get their foot in the door in industry.
Identify roles and companies that are right for you
Begin by determining which companies are a fit for you culturally, both in terms of their values and yours.
One way to understand what a company's mission statement is by going on its website and reading through what it stands for, Quint suggested.
You can follow up in the interview process by asking more specific questions about the company's core values.
"They should be able to speak to it in the interview process," she said.
At Plaid, "our mission is to empower the innovators who are providing access to the financial system," she added. "We have seven principles and among them are values like, 'Grow together,' which emphasizes the goal of continuous learning, and also bringing others along in that learning process."
Read more: The CEO of $2.6 billion Plaid spends a third of his time recruiting. Here's why he 'hires for spikes' rather than seeking well-rounded candidates.
Be prepared to have a good answer if the recruiter asks why you're interested in their firm, too. In interviews at the Plaid, Quint said candidates are asked, "Why Plaid?"
There's no one perfect answer, but Quint advised having a clear one, whether it's because you're excited about the organization, or the company has roles available in your location, or something else.
As far as finding the right role, Quint said an entry-level role in customer support — which might not be the kind of job that would immediately come to mind for some candidates — could be a great starting place if you're new to fintech.
In a customer support role, she said, you'll learn about consumers' needs, as well as "how products are built, how long it takes them to be built, how they're launched, how they're continuously improved."
Market yourself during recruiting — or, as Quint put it: 'Build and then broadcast'
The key to standing out in the recruiting process, Quint said, is showing your unique talents and achievements. She called the approach: "Build and then broadcast."
The 'build' element is about building something tangible that illustrates your skills in action — for instance, an app. Build the tangible proof that you can ace whatever job in fintech you're looking to land.
And, as far as 'broadcast' goes, this is about flexing your achievements in the right way. Share your work on LinkedIn, which Quint described as "still one of our really important candidate search tools," or post about it on your blog or website.
The goal is simple, she said: "Show people what you have built. It shows initiative. It shows that scrappiness and that hunger."
Are you a young person working on Wall Street? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected], encrypted messaging app Signal (561-247-5758), or direct message on Twitter @reedalexander.
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