The advice in this blog comes from the ‘How to get into fintech, legal tech and disruptive technologies’ careers panel event for Social Science and Law students in November 2021 and is focussed on advice for non-STEM specialists looking at careers in this area.
This blog includes some of the speakers’ key messages for what you can do to get involved with this ever-changing and rapidly expanding sector, top tips for accessing these industries and a note on what the future may look like.
What is it?
Legaltech is technology which helps either legal teams or consumers to improve processes e.g., with document automation, contract review, and electronic discovery. It is designed to increase efficiency and concentrate lawyer time on more complex tasks which are less easily automated.
Fintech is the use of technology to automate and enhance the delivery of financial services, usually consumer-centric, e.g., cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, blockchain and creditworthiness.
Broadly, areas of work in these sectors include product development, customer service, business development, recruitment, regulatory and ethics.
Ten top tips from our expert speakers
1. Attend events: At events you can gain contacts and learn from those with first-hand experience in these sectors. You never know what possibilities may arise from going – where small businesses are involved you may get the chance to meet with the CEO, for example.
2. Get involved with ‘the conversation’: Be aware of what is happening in these sectors and what changes are coming, taking opportunities to build commercial awareness. Our speakers recommend networking with others via LinkedIn, social media, internships and mentorship, starting perhaps with:
- following #LegalTech, as the legal tech industry is very active on Twitter;
- following Alessandro Civati on LinkedIn as a starting point for Fintech discussion.
3. Get an elevator pitch: work on how to introduce yourself interestingly and effectively in a short space of time.
4. Take balanced risks: If you’re able to take shorter term contracts this can open up a wider range of ad hoc opportunities. Working for small start-up companies can potentially lead to experience in a rapidly expanding firm!
5. Align your values: Tech company cultures can be fast-paced and innovative. Understand your own values and ways of working and seek to do the same for potential employers to find a good match.
6. Make yourself clear: The ability to communicate effectively is an important skill, especially in such technical industries. You may be required to communicate as an expert to a non-expert, or vice-versa, so be able to adapt your language.
7. Love data: Data analysis is a fundamental skill to have in Fintech. However, you don’t need to be a specialist just yet – you can learn and improve on these skills.
8. Maintain your network: You never know if or when you might want to return to a company or colleagues you have previously worked with, so keep all your options open.
9. Insider information! These are areas our speakers identified as having potential for significant growth in the coming years:
- blockchain and its applications
- smart contracts
- digital currencies
- AI ethics
10. Be willing to learn: Continually learn about advances in technology and develop your industry related skills. With that said, don’t forget the basics! For example, in Fintech, know the difference between acquisition, lending and financial risk. You might consider supplementing your degree: consider short courses with organisations such as Blockchain Council, IBM, Cornell FinTech, Edx, or Coursera – some of these are free. Here are some speaker recommended websites to get started with:
If you’re looking for a dynamic and quickly changing industry with huge potential scope for the future, fintech or legaltech could be for you. Watch the recording to find out more and explore Careers Service resources for finding jobs and work experience and applications to increase your chance of success.
Written by Ethan Osborn-Clarke, a final year BSc Geography student and one of the Careers Peer Support Assistants.