UCT launches groundbreaking FinTech degree

The University of Cape Town, one of the leading educational institutions on the continent, has become the first university in Africa to offer a specialised FinTech degree. It follows the University of Oxford and a host of Ivy League institutions in offering such a programme.

The master of data science with a specialisation in financial technology qualification will have its first intake in January 2018 and is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge to enjoy a successful career in the exploding FinTech sector. The curriculum will include the latest methods in statistical learning, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, while blockchain technology will also be a major subject.

"We are in constant and close contact with the financial services industry and know that it is facing a shifting demand for skills," said course convenor and senior lecturer at UCT Co-Pierre Georg, according to ITNewsAfrica.

"In the past, companies were mainly looking for advanced mathematical and modelling skills. There still is demand for these skills, but by far the largest demand now is for students who have a thorough understanding of finance combined with a mastery of modern data analytics and software development skills.

"Our students will be able to develop these skills in the two most exciting areas of fintech; machine learning and blockchain technologies."

He added that there was a great demand for such a qualification and stressed his belief that graduates would have a significant impact on the FinTech sector. "FinTech offers a unique opportunity to radically transform the industry. Young startups are already challenging the incumbents and our students will be on the forefront of this technological revolution in South Africa," he said.

"Our focus on entrepreneurship means that we will change the students' mindset so that they not only want to go out and 'get' a job, but also to go out and create a job - or a hundred."