Millennials must upskill to stay on top in FinTech space - expert

Johannesburg - The two-day FinTech Academy Africa roundtable discussion kicked off on Monday, affording industry executives the opportunity to dive deep into global best practice in the financial technology industry.

Susanne Chishti, keynote speaker at the discussions and CEO and founder of FinTech Circle – a global community of entrepreneurs, investors and intrapreneurs - told Fin24 the industry is evolving rapidly and millennials need to upskill themselves to keep up with changes.

“Generic education is a fundamental basis; pupils need to be taught how to think and how to question things,” she told Fin24.

She added that pupils who have the opportunity to study further could be going into a field of expertise with a short shelf life.

Chishti said the banking industry also needs to innovate to keep up with the growing trend of customers now banking on their smartphones and using other means of banking. 

“People will soon no longer need a bank branch but still need banking, and in a digital age and with digital disruption people can easily bank on their smartphones and not need to go into branch. Some young people have never been into a bank and unfortunately, there could come a time where people in a branch are no longer needed,” she told Fin24. 

Chishti added that the age of digital disruption and the spate of failed start-ups doesn't paint a grim picture, but instead presents an opportunity for young people.

“When you look at a service like Uber, we have people who run below the algorithm and those who run on top of the algorithm. Those below are drivers who are now told by a computer how their job will be done, while those who work on top of the algorithm write the programme for that computer,” she said.  

Chishti said it is up to people to decide where they want to be, and that those who learn coding would be core to the financial technology industry.  

She also told Fin24 that young people now have the opportunity to exploit social media and online platforms to create new career paths. 

“If a person started a YouTube channel, for example, and managed to get 500 000 people following them, they could be essential to a marketing company. This would show a company that the individual has an understanding of how to generate an online following and be an influencer,” Chishti said. 

FinTech Academy Africa finishes on Tuesday and will focus on global FinTech trends and organisational strategies. It will also present an opportunity to learn from pitfalls experienced in developed economies, and how to apply these lessons to Africa.

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