The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become the first university in Africa to offer a degree in Financial Technology.
The new degree is a Master of Data Science with a specialisation in Financial Technology and will be offered for the first time in January 2018.
The degree will help students to acquire necessary skills in order to develop in the two most important areas of fintech which are: Machine learning and blockchain technologies.
According to Course convener Dr Co-Pierre Georg, a Senior Lecturer at the African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) at UCT, the innovation was a result of consultations between the institution and the financial services industry experts on the growing shift in demand for skills.
Students in the new UCT degree will master machine learning which is the technology driving innovations such as self-driving cars and speech recognition and will be able to develop their own applications tailored for the financial sector.
The students are also expected to master the dynamism of blockchain technology that is behind new cryptocurrencies, automated supply-chain management over remittance and other payment services up to health and insurance.
“We are in constant and close contact with the financial services industry and know that it is facing a shifting demand for skills. 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," says Georg.
The degree is an interdisciplinary and convened together with the Department of Statistical Science at UCT.
The Associate Professor and Head of the Department, Francesca Little revealed that “We started the MSc in Data Science to give students a thorough understanding of the latest methods in statistical learning. This includes the extremely exciting field of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The idea then was to bring together UCT’s ‘best and brightest’ from other departments to design a degree that is truly special. We are delighted to partner with AIFMRM so that we are able to offer a specialisation in the exciting new field of Financial Technology.”