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Hiring fintech developers is crucial as fintechs hitting growth milestones — from seed round to Pre-IPO and beyond — face the common challenge of smoothly onboarding new engineers. However, fintechs encounter additional hurdles when bringing in software developers, particularly finding skilled candidates who also possess critical, sector-specific knowledge.

The fintech developers you hire must be well-versed in traditional finance, fintech, and regtech. They need to easily differentiate between market staples like a call, a put, and a stop loss, and should be comfortable using insider terms like elDV, AISP, APA, CFI, and EBITDA.

Hiring engineers without this depth of knowledge can lead to multiple issues in the software development process and pose significant risks to your business.

Understanding of financial industry products

First up: fintech developers need to know the products and processes at the heart of the traditional financial industry: stocks, bonds, and derivatives, along with prospecting, account maintenance, and the like.

Vention Head of Fintech Sales Andrew Madigan stresses the importance of financial product know-how with every client. "There's a lot of commonality across most engineering sectors," he says. "Very roughly speaking, if you can create a platform to sell bananas, you can create a platform to sell shoes, without necessarily having to know the difference between bananas and shoes. But if you're creating an OTC derivatives platform, you must know what OTC derivatives are, what function they serve, and how they work."

Engineers lacking in financial industry knowledge might miss fintech-specific issues. A skilled fintech developer comes equipped to identify and address potential red flags in fintech coding due to their in-depth product knowledge. Case in point: When our financial-data client Barchart came to us for a core revamp and all-new capabilities, we could deliver a robust, scalable solution quickly because our engineers already had deep, relevant industry knowledge.

 

"I talk to ambitious engineers all the time," says Vention Head of Fintech Andrew Haines. "I tell them that you can be an engineer, or you can be a fintech engineer. A fintech engineer is someone I can explain a street-level finance-business problem to, and they come up with a coding-level tech solution for it. They understand the financial sector on a granular level, with no need for a translator."

One other benefit that this level of expertise delivers: Qualified fintech engineers know how customers use financial information and systems in the real world. They understand that coding problems in a fintech product could lead not only to lost time or lost convenience but potentially lost money and diminished (or even destroyed) customer loyalty.

A grasp of legal aspects

Given that numerous agencies govern finance (in the US alone: SEC, FINRA, FDIC, OCC, etc.), you need to hire fintech developers who understand and account for the regulatory environment in which the software and products they build will operate. Imagine, for a moment, the perils of a developer building a wealth management product not knowing about fair valuation codes, or one assembling a lending product having no idea that federal fair lending laws often sit alongside individual state regulations.

Our workplace-investing client Vestwell operates across the US. One API project we undertook for them required us to change core logic to accommodate the particulars of individual state plans (we dedicated an entire team to produce a system for Oregon). The task was hiccup-free because our engineering crew was well-versed in the nuances of inter- and intra-state regulations.

A sensitivity to regulations among developers becomes doubly important when you consider that the relatively loose regulatory environment fintechs have enjoyed for years is changing. Fintechs are beginning to face the same level of scrutiny as their cousins in traditional finance; engineers who are ready for this will make life that much easier for companies trying to concentrate on growing their business.

“Products are one side of the fintech coin,” says Haines, “Regulatory compliance is the other. Engineers who know both are exceptionally valuable to a client.”

Ready to take on your next fintech project?

Augment your team with top-notch fintech engineers who will help take your business to new heights.

Expertise in cybersecurity

Knowledge of the financial world is only one fintech engineer gotta-have. Software development for financial companies occurs within a unique security context. Cyber criminals continually target fintechs, making cybersecurity expertise a must.

Whether hiring fintech engineers yourself or through a vendor, you must be sure they’re qualified in the security requirements of the systems they’re building.

Security standards vary by region — from the US to the EU to Asia and everywhere in between — and every area offers its own certification programs. Haines recommends hiring fintech developers with certifications such as CIISP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) or CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor).

At Vention, our commitment to security is unwavering, and security audits are a cornerstone of our practice.

The right mindset

Product knowledge, regulatory compliance, and security are crucial, but a successful fintech engineer also needs the right mindset. The best fintech developers can foresee potential system failures and design robust, reliable, and scalable systems to prevent them.

Haines says that most talented engineers are visionaries — hopeful souls who dream about the wonderful things their work can accomplish.

"But the truly valuable fintech engineer is just the opposite," he says. "This is a person who has a hacker mentality, who can imagine everything that can go wrong with a system, the awful things that could happen if the company's walls are penetrated by the wrong people."

The highest-level fintech engineers realize that a hacker only has to succeed once, so they must design systems that succeed time after time, all while being scalable, flexible, and reliable. It's not a particularly rose-colored worldview. But it is the right way to view engineering challenges when industries, fortunes, and livelihoods are on the line every day.

Key takeaways for hiring fintech developers

To hire fintech developers who will drive your business forward, look for candidates with:

  • Deep understanding of financial products and processes
  • Strong knowledge of regulatory compliance
  • Expertise in cybersecurity
  • The ability to foresee and mitigate potential system failures

By focusing on these critical skills, you can ensure a smooth onboarding process and secure your company's growth.

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