Top Skills to be a Product Engineer in Fintech
A product engineer in fintech is a specialist craftsperson. They conceive of design and build software programs, applications and products.
To do this they engage with all key stakeholders in their ecosystem to understand their requirements and needs. They then use all this information to craft a product strategy. And eventually they build the product using this strategy.
What a product engineer in fintech does
- They employ a deep understanding of what the customer may want and what their industry can offer to come up with interesting product ideas.
- They work closely with members of a product development team to flesh out these ideas.
- They employ cutting-edge technology like computer-aided design (CAD) to actually give an idea form and shape.
- They build a robust prototype of the product.
- They then test the prototype.
- They assess the prototype for security risks.
- They work with a team of professionals to estimate the product’s manufacturing schedules.
- They oversee the manufacturing process to assess if the specs have been met.
- They ensure a smooth and seamless product launch.
What makes a product engineer in fintech
This is a role that requires specialized skills and capabilities.
Essentially, a person in this role must:
- Have the ability to work in a team: This calls for being an extrovert. There is a need to engage continuously with leadership, and with product development and manufacturing teams. The process of building products, from idea to launch, can never be achieved by working in a silo.
- Be good with creative thinking: There is a need to think outside the box. Why can’t a cheaper and more effective design replace the existing one? How do we make the user experience simpler? How can the product deliver more value? How can we build more features that offer this additional value? These are some of the questions that the product engineer often throws up. Answering them in a seamless, systematic way is what leads to breakthrough solutions and product designs.
- Be a good communicator: The role requires dealing with a spectrum of stakeholders. Not all of them understand product design the way engineers do. Many of them don’t even have a technical background. So, the communication from a product engineer must be simple and easy to understand. It must enable information-sharing and decision-making.
- Be proficient in math: Calculus, linear algebra and statistics – these are what a product engineer uses all the time. They are absolute essentials to design and build a prototype.
- Be a problem-solver: Any product is likely to have security risks. Also, the product development process is likely to have cost and time overruns. A good product engineer must have the ability to spot and solve these problems – swiftly, efficiently.
- Be a specialist in designing and testing product prototypes: This requires skills with using product prototype software. Blueprints have to be drawn up and 3D images of product prototypes must be reviewed. A product engineer must have these capabilities.
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Qualifying to be a product engineer in fintech
You must primarily have a sense of adventure to appreciate all the excitement that working in fintech throws up. You will also require to have the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in a specific discipline like mechanical engineering, product design engineering or quality engineering. These are typically four-year programs.
- An understanding of finance and technology. Enroll additionally for online programs that offer you a basic understanding of these disciplines. This learning is very important for you to be able to design and engineer products that touch the lives of people and solve customers’ problems.
- Work experience in a product development team while assisting trained professionals. The process of practical learning begins outside a classroom. On-the-job experience lays the foundation for career growth. So, working with professionals who have years of experience behind them is crucial.
- Select certifications for technical skills approved by the industry. As technology grows and evolves, specific skill sets are required to administer critical functions in the product engineering space. It is highly recommended that product engineers keep themselves up-to-date by getting certified to use new skills.
The range of roles for product engineers in fintech
- Full-stack engineer: This role requires knowing how both the front end and the back end function. The front end of the product deals with the client-facing side. And the back end deals with the server.
- Platform engineer: This role acts as a crucial bridge between the software and the hardware parts of a product. The engineer here has to be a specialist in multiple tasks: Automation of software deployment, building platforms and APIs, writing documentation for application developers and helping with monitoring cloud and data centers.
- Machine learning engineer: This role requires deploying machine learning tools to assist fintech firms to detect fraud, profile customers, enhance user experience, improve the flow of transactions, assess credit risks and optimize interest rates. Engineers in this role usually have MSc and/or PhD degrees.
- Solutions engineer: In this role, the engineer works closely with both the developers and customers in order to help develop user-centric products. A computer science degree and several years of experience in the IT space are required.
- Data engineer: This engineer handles a whole range of functions in this role. These include reviewing data sets and identifying patterns in them, developing and managing data dashboards , and building frameworks for data quality measurement and data warehousing.
- Security engineer: This engineer polices a product engineering architecture and ensures data integrity and security. A security engineer has a degree in computer science, knowledge of STEM subjects, coding experience, proficiency in forensic practices, communication skills and knowledge of cloud platforms.
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A product engineer in fintech must have a sense of adventure and creativity in them to excel in their role.
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