Silicon Valley is always a hotbed for top talent, and a healthy portion of that talent is focusing its attention on financial-services technology. Banks, investment firms, and startups with visions of the next great e-commerce app are snatching up software developers, cybersecurity experts, data analysts, and UI/UX designers.
Although Wall Street is behind much of that investment, there’s a lot of “fintech” action taking place exclusively on the West Coast. Venture-capital database CB Insights reports that Google Ventures and Intel Capital are some of 2015’s most active corporate investors in Silicon Valley financial-technology companies, helping create an ecosystem interested in “disrupting” how we move and store money.
According to Abigail Thompson, senior fulfillment manager for staffing agency CDI Corporation, fintech jobs run the spectrum, with tech professionals finding opportunities in banking, trading technologies, wealth management, insurance, peer-to-peer lending, online payments processing, and money transfers. “It’s all about cost-cutting, as well as moving to mobile and cloud initiatives,” she said.
Skip Potter, Capital One’s managing vice president of engineering, suggests that mobile design, data analysis, and security have all driven hiring within the fintech space. Capital One’s office in San Francisco is currently looking for a range of tech employees, including software engineers, data scientists, mobile developers and UI/UX designers. “We need people with skills throughout the stack—multiple coding languages, Swift, Angular, Java and Hadoop development experience, data engineering, and storage,” he said. “We have 320 people currently and expect to grow to about 600 by year-end 2016.”
Mountain View, Calif.-based Addepar, an investment management tech company, has increased its personnel count by 50 percent since 2014. The firm is currently hiring tech talent with investment expertise for their engineering and design teams. “We hire both generalists and specialists, where the current areas of focus include UX designers, security experts, data analysts, and automation gurus,” noted CEO Eric Poirier.
Jobs and Skills in Demand
Given some recent high-profile security breaches, banks and startups alike are on the hunt for cybersecurity experts. “Not only are established companies now adding security-focused departments and staff, there are security-focused startups who are dedicated just to this topic,” said Capital One’s Potter.
There’s also a growing trend toward hiring for design. “As more companies of all sizes incorporate design thinking into their product development process, UX/UI design roles have jumped,” Potter added. Data engineering is likewise experiencing explosive growth and demand.
According to the 2015-2014 Dice Salary Survey, Silicon Valley tops the list for average IT salary ($112,610 in 2014). “You see the top talent getting an offer at $100,000 and then they’ll come back and say no deal, and they’ll get $130,000,” Thompson said. “Everything’s very much candidate driven and there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of it.”
Junior cybersecurity people—with barely any experience—can command payment in the $70,000 range, she added. Security experts with ten (or more) years of experience are looking at $150,000 to $200,000, while experienced mobile product developers can earn $135,000 to $150,000.
High Tech Funding in Silicon Valley
Follow the money, and follow the hiring. According to a report from JLL Research and PwC Moneytree, Silicon Valley tech funding for the first quarter of 2015, by industry, breaks down as follows:
- Software: 64.4 percent
- IT Services: 12.7 percent
- Media/Entertainment: 9.6 percent
- Semiconductor: 5.4 percent
- Networking/Equipment: 4.3 percent
- Electronics/Instrumentation: 1.5 percent
- Consumer Products: 1.1 percent
- All other: 1.4 percent