University of Toronto launches fintech bootcamp to meet local labor demand

With nearly 200 startups, five major banks, 19 venture capital firms and representation from large tech companies like Google, Facebook, PayPal, Toronto is quickly becoming a center for fintech entrepreneurship.

To meet the demands of this growing industry, the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies is partnering with education services company Trilogy to launch a part-time fintech bootcamp program for professionals that will run for 24 weeks beginning in May.

The university joins a growing number of educational institutions around the world adding fintech programs, but Maureen MacDonald, dean of the School of Continuing Studies, said the program is aimed at two types of participants: financial services professionals looking to work at tech companies, and technology workers interested in learning more about the broader financial services ecosystem.

“Some of them are already in the industry, and they are financial professionals who want to gain proficiency in some of the high-demand tech skills, and then there’s technologists who lack some of the finance-specific knowledge and see this as an emerging industry that they want to move into,” MacDonald told Bank Innovation.

See also: BMO’s Ben Schack on what’s next for bank-fintech collaborations

She noted that students will acquire a broad range of expertise, including financial fundamentals; machine-learning applications in finance; blockchain and cryptocurrency; and financial programming.

While there is debate around whether formal, accredited courses are the best vehicles for acquiring industry-specific skills, David Nault, co-founder and managing partner of Toronto-based fintech venture capital firm Luge Capital said these types of programs fill an important gap among professionals looking to move into fintech roles.

“Financial institutions haven’t historically been very good at becoming tech companies, and tech companies are trying to become financial services companies,” Nault said. “It’s a two-way street — it’s that early workforce that’s looking to build the next generation of companies, but you also have talent inside of financial services that need to learn about technology.”

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