Career paths in financial technology

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If you work in financial technology in investment banking, your career path is set out for you in the same way as any other part of the business – you come in as an analyst, progress to associate, then vice president, director and eventually managing director. However, the vast array of job options available in IT is not the only choice you must make as you progress up the ranks, you must also decide whether you want to work in a technical or managerial role.

Generally, those working in managerial roles have worked in technical positions, or have an understanding of the tech behind the systems, but they’re disconnected from the development work or even project management. Instead, they’re the people who make big strategic decisions about what technology the bank should be using and how.

Investment banks – wary of competition from pure technology companies – have been rolling out dual structures

That’s not to say that your career is stuck in stasis if you choose to remain true to your technical roots. Increasingly, investment banks – wary of competition from pure technology companies – have been rolling out dual structures to accommodate those who want to progress but remain close to technology.

“As your career progresses, there are two tracks,” says Scott Marcar, head of IT infrastructure at Deutsche Bank. “We offer a leadership track where you can start running teams as you progress from associate upwards, and we offer an expert career path where you can progress to managing director by being a specialist in your particular area. We value leadership talent and we value engineering talent – you can make it to the top here even if you want to stay technical.”

Senior project managers eventually end up as programme managers. Developers work their way through the ranks, but tend to maintain the same ‘developer’ tag, while changing their job title as they progress. It’s the responsibilities that change with seniority.

“You are likely to start your career as an individual contributor but progress to advising or guiding others, sharing knowledge and skills you have learnt in the earlier part of your career to others,” says Malcolm Harrow, managing director, head of technology for South East Asia at J.P. Morgan.