The U’s new FinTech Boot Camp aims to connect skilled professionals with lucrative financial technology jobs.

Financial technology has changed the way businesses and consumers interact with their financial institutions. Deposit a check in your bank account or book a beach vacation via an app on your phone and you’re using “fintech,” the term coined to describe the innovation and technology used in the delivery of financial services.

Startups and established institutions alike use fintech to interact with consumers via the internet and the cloud from mobile devices and other software technologies. It’s now possible to manage funds, trade stocks, pay for food, and manage your insurance payments with a click on your laptop or a tap of your smartphone.

As you might guess, there’s great demand for people with the skills to develop fintech across multiple sectors. And gaining those skills just became more accessible with the launch of a state-of-the-art program offered through the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), in partnership with 2U, Inc. brand Trilogy Education. The FinTech Certificate is a cutting-edge, boot camp-style program that offers training in how to automate and improve financial services using the latest technology.

“There’s a large opportunity for jobs in the Twin Cities insurance and financial sectors, as well as large retailers,” says Chris Wilberding, vice-president of student onboarding and retention at 2U, Inc. “We chose to partner with the U of M because of the demand from those local players who seek skilled professionals to help them stay abreast of current technology trends.”

The U’s first FinTech Boot Camp will begin in spring 2021 and meet online three days a week for 24 weeks. Students will spend 10 hours per week in instruction and should expect to work an average of 20 hours per week on homework and projects.

“We’ve successfully created a dynamic digital classroom environment,” says Wilberding, who has received dozens of positive testimonials from students who’ve completed the program in Chicago, Charlotte, and Toronto, among other locations. “Live online allows students to interact with instructors and with each other during group instruction, and in small groups during break-out sessions. We’re finding a lot of people really like it.”

Alexis Schottenstein is one such satisfied customer. She became interested in digital finance while studying economics and policy in graduate school. She completed a fintech boot camp—which imparts an array of technical skills such as Python, Solidity, JavaScript, and machine learning—at Columbia University in New York City.

“It really was invaluable because the boot camp covered so many topics that I don’t think I would have been even introduced to on the job,” says Schottenstein in a Columbia Engineering article about her experience. “The projects really accelerated my knowledge in the real technical sense... I’m confident that I can build a real application now.”

Marc Weimer, a treasury officer for a multinational bank, had a similarly positive experience in the boot camp offered at Rice University in Houston, where he sought to understand more about cloud infrastructure and machine learning. “As the son of a computer programmer, I was familiar with a few coding languages, but I definitely wasn’t a coder,” said Weimer on Trilogy’s blog. “By no means was the class easy, but I stuck it out. Our instructor was excellent. He was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, pushed us outside our comfort zones, and pointed us towards useful resources. Once we got deeper into the concepts and practiced deploying different languages into solutions, it all clicked, and my understanding of the tools multiplied.”

In addition to an exceptional opportunity to gain sought-after skills in well-paying positions, participants of the boot camp may take advantage of Trilogy’s career-planning services, including resume prep, career workshops, and networking, says Wilberding. “Our objective is to match participants with in-demand tech jobs. Not only have students been successful, but partnerships with local employers and organizations have flourished. Expanding these boot camps has been a great thing to watch.”

“We’re really looking forward to bringing this successful program to Minnesota,” says Brian Torkkola, program director for CCAPS professional development programs. “Our market research shows that demand for these skills in our area is growing, as the program matches needs from banking, consumer goods, retail, and insurance industries in the Twin Cities. This will be our fifth boot camp product offered in Minnesota, which builds on the success of the four existing programs we’re offering within our partnership with 2U, Inc. brand Trilogy Education.”

The first cohort of the University of Minnesota FinTech Boot Camp starts March 9, 2021.