The University of Toronto has launched a FinTech boot camp and applications are open.

The course, which is 24 weeks long and is composed of two night classes during the week and one class on the weekends, is part of a series of boot camps that UofT has put together with Trilogy Education.

Maureen MacDonald, the Dean at the University of Toronto’s School of Continued Studies, spoke with IT World Canada about the course and said that a growing need for the skills in Toronto let them create this program.

Maureen MacDonald said there is a great demand for FinTech skills. Credit: LinkedIn

“We felt this was another opportunity for us to move forward and be able to provide the skills that employers are looking for in this marketplace,” said MacDonald in an interview. “If you look at Toronto, it’s really becoming one of the fastest-growing financial tech centers in the world. By introducing the FinTech boot camp, we’re hoping to respond to some of that and capitalize on the evolving marketplace in the GTA.”

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Not only is Toronto home to the Big Five banks in Canada, but it also has over 190 FinTech startups that received nearly $221 million in investment capital in the year 2018 alone.

MacDonald said this boot camp will serve a range of individuals; whether or not they have previous experience in the financial industry or not.

“We think that it’s going to attract really two kinds of people,” she explained. “Those are financial professionals who want to gain proficiency in some of the high-end tech skills and tech skills that are needed. And then also technologists who lack specific knowledge but see an emerging industry that they may want to move into.”

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One of the major issues that face the financial sector and the fintech space is data privacy, which she acknowledged are serious issues that must be addressed in the course.

“Information security is a key part of this and particularly in the FinTech world. We want to teach things that employers are demanding, and certainly, privacy and security is a key component of that.”

Some of the other skills and solutions that will be taught include:

  • Analyzing historical credit card transactions to identify possible fraudulent transactions using SQL.
  • Creating predictive models for stock prices with time series analysis using Python.
  • Building a decentralized identity system using blockchain technologies.
  • Applying machine learning algorithms to analyze sentiment scores for cryptocurrency news.
  • Using TensorFlow to build deep learning neural networks to predict financial outcomes.
  • Developing an AI-driven robo-advisor capable of providing financial services with minimal human intervention.

Also included will be access to career services like portfolio building, career coaching, and networking events, even after completing the course.

While the quality of Trilogy’s courses has been called into question in the past – as some have claimed Trilogy compiles the courses without any input from the schools – MacDonald said that is not the case in this partnership.

“We work closely with the team at Trilogy to ensure that the programs meet our academic standards. Before launching any program, subject area experts at UofT carefully review the curriculum to provide feedback and ultimate approval. We also approve the hiring of all instructors and assistant instructors,” explained MacDonald. “Even after launch, the partnership is very hands-on. We meet regularly to review participant feedback in an effort to continuously assess the quality of our programs and ensure we’re driving the best learner outcomes.”