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Knowledge in both information technology (IT) and finances, and hence more opportunities for building one’s career – such prospects are open for students of the Financial Management Information Systems Bachelor’s programme provided jointly by Riga Technical University (RTU) and BA School of Business and Finance (BASBF). This year first six graduates of the programme received their diplomas, among them also Ričards Senčenko, who started his career at Swedbank yet while studying and now he works there as Software Engineer.
«This programme is comprehensive – it allows understanding how diverse the IT field is, as there is a standard perception that it is just about programming. However, it is not, this field is much wider,» says Ričards.
Financial Management Information Systems or FinTech¸ as it is usually abbreviated, is a unique programme in Latvia, established four years ago by RTU and BASBF, where financial system software developers are trained. This programme originated as a response to the market demand, as financial institutions become increasingly more computerised and they use increasingly more complex solutions. Therefore, specialists are needed who, being knowledgeable in the financial field, are capable of developing and managing efficiently specialised software for financial systems. Thus, students are provided with knowledge in both IT and finances.
«With regards to IT, we obtain much more than just the field of finances. However, if students express interest to building their career in financial management, this can be done as well,» says Ričards. He has decided to work in the data science field – to be engaged in data summarising, analysis and information provision to other employees of the undertaking – and now he works as Software Engineer at Swedbank in the Report and Visual Analytics Department. The fact of a high demand for financial management IT specialists on the labour market is confirmed through the Ričard’s experience – he started working at the bank yet when being the first-year student. Initially, as the customer consultant, obtaining knowledge on the bank’s products and services. However, Ričard’s goal was to develop in the IT field, and therefore he, following vacancies available, was searching for career development opportunities and then he started working in the data processing and provision field as a business analyst, later coming to his current career point by fulfilling duties of a software engineer and developing applications and different IT tools for data management.
To future FinTech students, Ričards recommends to study mathematics thoroughly, as it not only provides knowledge required in the IT field, but also develops logical thinking, which is necessary for IT specialists, for example, to develop algorithms. As well as to get acquainted with programming, in order to understand whether it is of interest generally, and also to start studying economics at school, as this knowledge will help learning financial management and other related subjects at a university. And, certainly, English, as Ričard’s daily work takes place in English and it is required to master the specific terminology of the field.
«One needs a lot of patience, as errors might occur during the programme development process which might require up to several hours to spot. Therefore, when working, I learned to be patient and persistent,» says Ričards, sharing his experience.
He decided not to stop at receiving the Bachelor’s diploma, however, does not yet plan to enter the Master’s studies. His intention is to understand, while working, what knowledge exactly will be required for his future career and then to select the next stage of his studies correspondingly.