The financial technology industry has disrupted both the tech and finance worlds. It has filled the market with a myriad of startups hungry for the skilled and passionate employees who could bring all these projects to life. In 2015, global fintech investment went up by 75 percent, exceeding $22 billion. 2016 started with impressive growth in the industry, so the fight for talent is going to be even fiercer this year. The shortage of qualified engineers and regulation issues fintech app developers have faced make outsourcing more and more lucrative.

Global fintech financing activity (2010-2015)

So what kind of specialists are fintech companies looking for and can they find them in offshore software development destinations? Apart from answering these questions, this article is aimed to help you interview and choose the best specialists.

Programming languages

First and foremost, you’re looking for developers who will write the code that will power your platform. These people need to have a clear understanding of what is good programming practice. The choice of tech stack for a fintech project is a topic worth a separate article but the programming languages normally used in this sphere are Java, C#, C++, Python, Ruby and Scala.

Currency Cloud and Stripe are written in Ruby, TransferWise uses JavaScript as a client-side technology, Quartz platform by Bank of America runs on Python. C++ is a good option if you need to process high volumes of data. Java is also an excellent choice. It powers back end systems of many  financial services institutions, portals, trading systems, market engines, online banking platforms etc. Yet PayPal, which was initially powered by Java, moved to Node.js a few years ago.

So whichever language you choose, the developers you hire must be aware of the changing trends in the industry and understand the needs of the future. Besides these technologies, you might need to interview specialists in HTML5, CSS, Bootstrap, SQL, Angular JS, React JS etc.

If you already decided which tech stack would be the best for developing your software, interviewing your potential developers will be easier. The outsourcing provider might try to sell you the tech they have available so be careful and hire the specialists you really need.

Bitcoin and blockchain

These two central technologies in fintech enable you to exchange value over the internet without an intermediary. They have applications in various industries such as banking, insurance, media and entertainment, public sector, energy trading etc. It’s very likely you’ll need them in your sphere, for your product. So find out whether the outsourcing providers have built bitcoin solutions and how much experience they have working with this tech.

The adoption of blockchain has been on the rise in 2016, so the financial transactions are becoming more streamlined. The distributed ledger is about to cause more disruption drastically changing the markets in the future. So if the developers you’re interviewing have any previous experience working with blockchain protocol, it’s a big plus.

how blockchain works diagram

Source: Financial Times

Experience in building high-load systems

Fintech  is a complex area for developers due to the volumes of data involved and the growing importance of Big Data and machine learning. Most of the solutions in this sphere are high-load systems performing tons of operations a day. Often times such performance is achieved by using Reactive programming. So don’t forget to check whether the outsourcing provider knows which technologies to use to build scalable software. As your user base grows, the loads will increase too. So think about scaling before starting development and hiring the engineers.

Security

Another important issue to address before hiring the outsourcing company is security and data privacy. In fact, it must come first in fintech and a lot depends on your developers in this matter. You must be already well-aware of all the risks and how to address them to make your platform and your users safe. Your outsourcing providers must be too.

Ask if they know how to eliminate the dangers of hacking and cyber threats, find out whether they have any idea of the regulations and standards in the industry, check if they are familiar with the procedures for protecting sensitive information etc. You definitely want to design your platform with security in mind. So the engineers must think of how to control data access, retention and disposal from day one.

fintech security

Understanding of the industry

Although technical skills are the main thing you’re looking for, understanding of how financial services work is almost as important. During an interview, you should ask the developers what they know about recent innovations that might affect technology in finance. Find out whether they have general knowledge of how the economy and the markets work. You might even ask them about the most popular fintech platforms and successful startups.

This will help you to establish their interest in the sphere. If they really worked on a fintech project, they’ll be familiar with these basic things. Their understanding of the industry will greatly improve your communication and ensure smooth project flow.

Soft skills

The stereotype of an introverted geeky programmer is long gone. Our time engineers are initiative and communicative team players. You’re looking for people just like that, especially if you’re a startup. The developers should possess some major soft skills including flexibility, critical thinking, time-management etc. As you often need to think how to make the product faster and more efficient, problem solving abilities are vital for building a successful fintech platform.

Company capacities

Can the potential outsourcing provider handle the project of your size? Do they really have enough talent and resources? These are important issues to address before any other considerations. Timing matters a lot in business, so you need to be sure you’ll be able to bring your product to market with these developers. Unfortunately, people quit and get sick all the time so you need to be confident the company has the capacities for eliminating such risks fast.

To wrap up, every project is different so some of these issues might be more critical to your product than others. Outsourcing gives you an additional pool of talent so you may be a bit more demanding and hire the developers who will  have both experience in a wide range of technologies and clear understanding of fintech industry. Eastern Europe has become one of the primary financial technology outsourcing destinations, so many big brands in the industry have developed their software in Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Bulgaria etc.

fintech companies Eastern Europe

Finding the software development company that will have the necessary resources, specialists in a wide range of technologies, expertise in bitcoin and blockchain, experience in building high load secure systems is not as difficult as it seems. There are plenty of outsourcing companies with vast fintech expertise who will be happy to work on your project.