New programme to groom future FinTech talent

A photo of NUS staff and students at the inaugural session of the NUS-FinTechSG Programme on 6 July 2020. The NUS-FinTechSG Programme focuses on the financial sector, where students can gain knowledge about contemporary issues in the FinTech space.

The NUS School of Computing launched the NUS-FinTechSG Programme on 6 July 2020. Offered by the NUS FinTech Lab and Strategic Technology Management Institute (STMI), this new programme aims to nurture Singapore’s next generation of Financial Technology (FinTech) talents and full stack developers.

The NUS-FinTechSG Programme focuses on the financial sector, where students can gain knowledge about contemporary issues in the FinTech space. They will learn the integration of financial domain know-how, consisting of lending, payments, insurance, regulation and management. Students will also learn about front-end and back-end development, cloud systems, blockchain, and algorithmic trading.

In addition, students will have the option to access SGUnited traineeships and employment opportunities with partner enterprises. The skills acquired by the students will provide them with the opportunity to switch careers, as industries such as supply chain, retail, tourism and transport depend on FinTech.

Crucial to build up FinTech knowledge for the future

“As digitisation becomes an essential anchor for our economy, it is crucial to provide companies with a foundation – including knowledge, experience and resources – for future-ready talent and enterprises to truly succeed. The NUS FinTech Lab is at the forefront of this mission to join forces across the industry, and provide the best collective intelligence and tools for everyone to navigate the digital future,” said Professor Mohan Kankanhalli, Dean of NUS School of Computing and Chairman of the FinTech Lab Advisory Board.

The launch of the programme builds upon the concerted efforts to strengthen Singapore’s S$1.2 billion (US$861 million) FinTech market and to ensure that the industry can continue its growth momentum alongside financial institutions. The NUS-FinTechSG Programme is complemented by an optional trainee stipend co-funding scheme, which is supported under the SGUnited Traineeship Programme by the Ministry of Manpower and Workforce Singapore, to enable businesses to develop their local pipeline of FinTech talent.

“Singapore is one of the core innovation hubs in Asia, and is well-positioned to leverage FinTech to create new opportunities for the economy. We aim to harness this potential by enabling aspiring talents to learn about this fast-evolving field, and encourage innovative firms to bring their proof of concepts to life by offering on-the-job training for the students. As a part of the ongoing collaborative efforts among government, academia and the industry, we believe this programme will accelerate the nation’s digital growth and empower enterprises to leverage FinTech and bolster Singapore's virtual economy,” said Professor Alex Siow, Director of STMI.

Mr Yap Chee Yuen, Chairman, NUS Computing’s Industry Advisory Committee, said: “This is a unique and excellent learn-and-practice platform to train and prepare the next generation of our FinTech professionals. Through a combination of online courses and a practical project internship, our graduates are more prepared with the relevant skills, capabilities and readiness to embark on enriching careers in the finance sector.”

Course ensures basics are thoroughly covered

Students who enrol in the NUS-FinTechSG Programme will undergo a structured two-month intensive full-time course on the fundamentals of FinTech and business, subsequent programming concepts, as well as knowledge and development tools used in the FinTech industry. They can apply for a full-time traineeship of between nine to 12 months with leading financial institutions and companies such as UBS, Razer, and Bank of Singapore, which are expected to offer career paths based on merit.

Said James Aylen, UBS Head of Innovation: "For UBS, innovation and digitalisation are key strategic priorities. Singapore is a key regional centre for our Global Wealth Management, Investment Bank and Asset Management businesses as well as the home to our region's UBS Evolve Innovation Center. UBS is excited to be partnering with FinTechSG to support the future of Singapore's innovation ideas, start-ups, technology companies and the financial services sector."

Meanwhile, Lee Li Meng, Chief Strategy Officer, Razer and Chief Executive Officer, Razer Fintech, said Razer Fintech is committed to providing relevant and invaluable industry opportunities.

"This is an exciting collaboration - the programme will accelerate Singapore's SMART Nation agenda and empower FinTechs to grow Singapore's digital economy. We are thrilled to work with the youth of today and nurture the next generation of FinTech talents in Singapore," Mr Lee said.

Developing young FinTech talent

For corporates and venture capitalists, the programme presents an opportunity to develop and acquire young FinTech talent.

Associate Professor (Practice) Keith B. Carter, Director of the NUS FinTech Lab, explained, “From Grab to Shopee, we are using FinTech-powered platforms every day. Yet, many hesitate to dive in and learn about FinTech since it sounds distant. That is why the NUS-FinTechSG Programme is uniquely designed to make FinTech accessible, whether your background is in the arts, engineering, tourism, transportation or retail. The programme is designed in a pragmatic and approachable way, so that it can give everyone the skills needed to qualify for over 2,000 job openings in the banking and finance sectors.”

NUS FinTech Lab was launched last year in collaboration between NUS Computing and Ripple, a global enterprise payments provider. The lab provides experiential education as part of NUS Computing’s Industry FinTech Initiatives (SIFI), and serves as a locus of cooperation and a broker of conversation between industry actors, government departments, regulatory bodies, and educational institutions.

Hajo Provó Kluit, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said Singapore and the Netherlands are both significant FinTech hubs, with complementary strengths.

"Singapore’s regulatory environment allows Dutch companies to take their out-of-the-box solutions to the next stage and, our similar no-nonsense mentalities make the Dutch and Singaporeans natural partners to produce innovative results," Mr Provó Kluit said.

What staff and students are saying about the course

NUS students were upbeat about the opportunities the course provided.

Tan JueLing, NUS Communications and New Media, Class of 2020, and NUS-FinTechSG Programme trainee, said: “As someone with a non-technical background, I’m stoked to be given this amazing opportunity to partake in the NUS FinTech programme and empower myself with the relevant financial knowledge and technical skills required in today’s technology-driven society. In this ever-changing and unprecedented landscape, it is crucial for one to be adaptable, flexible and embrace change and I believe this programme will propel all of us forward in our career journey."

Muhammad Ismail, NUS Mechanical Engineering graduate, Class of 2020, and NUS-FinTechSG Programme trainee, said the NUS FinTech SG programme came at the right time during this period of uncertainty, giving him the opportunity to deepen his interest in finance and technology.

"Just as much as I can gain valuable experiences and knowledge from the programme, I hope I can contribute to the society through these as well," he said.

Shaun Han, NUS Communications and New Media, Class of 2020, and NUS-FinTechSG Programme trainee said: "In an age where digitisation and collective technologies have proven their worth in helping to streamline operations, I realised that I was lacking the right background and know-hows with respect to digital solutions and the payment landscape. I’m excited to embark on this programme and develop new technical skills and financial insights, which I hope to blend with my background in design and strategic communications, to redefine myself as a stronger asset in fuelling major players to scale businesses, ideas and/or profits."

More information on the NUS-FinTechSG course

Courses for the NUS-FinTechSG Programme will begin on 6 July 2020. For more information, click here.