Article by Rossana Thomas, Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Payments Platform, Fiserv

woman in tech working on a laptop, onlineIt is an exciting time to be in the financial technology space. Now more than ever, we are witnessing a distinctive move towards a digital society, and it’s my job to help financial institutions and their customers find and establish their unique space.

The financial technology world can seem a very male dominated environment in which to work. However, we’re seeing many more women work their way up in organisations, being active members of senior management teams and sitting on various boards across the industry. With a push for diversity at all angles, and a flurry of new and exciting technologies, now is the perfect time to join this industry.

Below, are some top tips from what I have learnt over my thirty-year career, and hopefully it helps and inspires other women to be part of the dynamic financial services industry.

Step outside of your comfort zone

To me, the biggest piece of advice I can share is, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.  That is often where the opportunity is. When looking for job opportunities, do your own investigation and research. Look for internships. Find people in this space and don’t be afraid to ask for advice (LinkedIn is your friend). You don’t always need to look for jobs related to your degree. I graduated with a liberal arts degree in psychology and I found my calling in the financial services industry. Look for jobs and opportunities that pique your interest. It’s good to remember that you may be in this career for a while, so make sure it is something you are passionate about.

Transferrable skills set you apart

Even if you are an expert in technology, you should also develop the skills needed for other business functions. For example, you may be a coder by profession with a strategic and team management role, which will require on the job learning. If you want your career to grow, become an expert in your discipline and then learn transferable skills. Skills such as leadership, business acumen and presentation abilities are as important as your core skills and will help your movement within verticals and industries.

Find a mentor

Internships and mentoring are a huge part of this industry. There are several programmes set up to help support women. Make sure you’re continually cultivating genuine relationships and build a solid network of people and good mentors across disciplines to support and guide you. These will ultimately help you succeed. For me, a good mentor is critical for career progression and success.

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