The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Tag: FInTech (page 1 of 3)

My Experience at UXPA Boston 2021

Contributed by: Lauren Haynes 

Through the Brandeis Graduate Professional Program (GPS), I had the opportunity to attend UXPA Boston 2021UXPA Boston is an annual full-day conference that brings together UX professionals from varying experiences and industries. During the conference, attendees can participate in a series of presentations, lunchtime table topics, mentoring, raffles, and “speed” networking. 

The week before the conference:

A few days before the conference, I was granted access to Hopin—the virtual event platform. Through Hopin, I was able to personalize my profile and plan my conference itinerary. In addition, I was able to read the bios of the event speakers and see other professionals attending the event. 

Day of the conference:

The day started with a welcoming address delivered by the UXPA Boston President, Bob Thomas. Following the address, the conference continued with presentations delivered by seasoned industry professionals. The presentations spanned topics including career development, strategy, design, user research, strategy, and UX in society. Several 45-minute presentations were scheduled concurrently, so attendees had the option to choose between sessions or bounce in between.

I planned out my day accordingly and chose sessions that were of interest to me. (There were so many great sessions to choose from, it was hard to decide). I ultimately attended the following presentations:

  • Design for Users Everywhere – How to Craft a Meaningful International UX
  • Stakeholder Relationships: Leading UX researching to greater success and impact
  • Give me the Quick Version! Using one-pages to communicate research findings far and wide
  • The Indispensable Principles of Designing Complex Interfaces 
  • Build for Action, not Distraction: Five practical steps you can take to build successful UI
  • Over-complicated? Over-simplified? The UX Efficient Frontier
  • Designing Meaningful Visualizations: A case study in connecting users to their data 

During lunch time, there were also “table talks” where you can discuss hot topics moving the industry. I participated in the Design for Behavior Change group where we discussed how to avoid dark UX/UI patterns. 

I had a great experience at UXPA Boston 2021 and would love the opportunity to attend again. There was content appealing to all experience levels—whether you’re looking to transition into the field to seasoned vets. The presentations were relevant and informative, and I most certainly obtained takeaways that I can apply to my current role.

Accelerating Entrepreneurship with Digital Innovation for FinTech

Congratulations to 2019 Digital Innovation for FinTech graduate, Sharon Craggs, for her achievements in the field! 

Sharon’s capstone project has led to the implementation of facial recognition for accounts at Abu Dabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). ADIB is now the first UAE bank to utilize facial recognition for identity

The FinTech capstone course, where Sharon’s idea about facial recognition took form, allows students to identify a problem in the FinTech field and then articulate and execute a solution. These interactive seminar-style classes enhance the student experience, and give FinTech professionals an opportunity to advance their careers in one of the most promising industries in today’s job market. We are proud of how Sharon applied her cumulative knowledge and consequently made a significant contribution toward change and innovation. 

We look forward to her future ventures, as well as celebrating the achievements of all Brandeis GPS students! 

Like Sharon, you can play a role in the FinTech revolution. Whether it’s at a leading firm, upskilling at your current organization, or at the helm of your own company, the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech from Brandeis GPS helps you achieve these goals and become a catalyst of progress.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Digital Innovation for FinTech program today

Student Spotlight: Stuart Mitchell

Sins of our past modeling our future – Diversity and bias in AI and data

By Deniz A Johnson

With International Women’s Day approaching, I was recently interviewed regarding the gender gap in Fintech and Financial Services. This is a hot topic with a variety of efforts underway to address it.  To name a few:

  • A recent California law (SB826) mandated diversity in the boardroom.
  • Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon announced that the investment bank will no longer take a company public unless said company has at least one “diverse” board member.

These are just the most recent examples of current shifts in the industry.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to increase diversity is that it pays! A 2020 KPMG study concluded that “boards that include more women and directors with diverse backgrounds and experiences are more effective on a variety of measures, including financial performance, risk oversight and sustainability.”

While these are steps in the right direction, I believe that diversity in financial data sets is a much larger issue. Without resolving the bias in AI and its data, we cannot make diversity in financial services a sustainable reality.

Every day, we generate data trails as part of our lives as we engage in financial transactions large and small; post on social media; or even just log into a website or app. This data is and will be available for building and refining our Machine Learning (ML) and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.

As these new technologies are adopted to guide business decisions, including creation of new investment products and services, the diversity challenges have a potential to create significant limitations:

  • When data sets represent only a small percentage of the actual population’s activities, preferences and needs
  • When past decisions contain identifiable or hidden prejudice/ bias
  • When past business decisions omit segments of the population

If we do not openly address these problems, we will carry narrow customer insights and potential biases to future products and services, thus missing the opportunities to add greater value to more clients. This could mean; a minority group that has traditionally avoided loan applications can be automatically rejected in the future since the data set is incomplete.

Let’s begin to address this problem by first using ML/AI to identify bias, bad data, and data gaps. Further, let’s leverage community and educational programs to increase workforce diversity and encourage firms to create inclusive work environments – both will make diversity a reality rather a goal – and enable broader thinking about client segments and their diverse needs and preferences.

Diversity and inclusion are not just feel-good concepts, but investments in the future. Both are necessities for creating better data sets for the new technologies that will help us build the financial solutions of the future and our industry’s success.

Taking a mindful and intentional look into identifying and solving bias in data as well as models is the key to making diverse organizations.

Deniz Johnson is a FinTech thought leader, advisor and executive in the Boston area. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Five Apps to Help You Manage Your Money

In honor of Boston FinTech Week, we’re looking at ways FinTech impacts our daily lives. 

As those in the FinTech space already know, managing one’s personal finances is easier than ever. Thanks to the rise of financial technology, users can make purchases, check bank statements, pay bills and track investments straight from their mobile devices.

FinTech apps are constantly evolving

In today’s crowded FinTech marketplace, financial technology companies and their app designers have been forced to up their game, providing more accessible, user-friendly interfaces. . 

Five free or low-cost  FinTech apps 

1. Venmo

Venmo allows users to request or send money from their family and friends by either connecting to their personal bank account or by depositing funds into the app.(Free)

2. Mint

Mint gives users an opportunity to see their finances all in one place. The app houses credit scores, bills, balances, investments and more. Users can set savings goals, manage budgets, and track their progress. (Free)

3. Acorns

Acorns is an app that takes a user’s spare change from their daily purchases by rounding up to the nearest dollar and puts that money toward savings or investments. ($1, $2, or $3 per month depending on a user’s account balance)

4. Wally

Wally is a daily tracking app designed to give users an overall picture of their financial activity as well as to set goals for the future. (Free)

5. PocketGuard

PocketGuard is a money management app that enables users to see where they are spending their money in simple and easy-to-understand graphs. PocketGuard provides tips on where users could potentially be saving money and creates unique budgets for each individual. (Free)

 

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Student Spotlight: Denny Singh

GPS FinTech instructor editorial featured in Boston Business Journal

Sarah Biller HeadshotIn a recent editorial in the Boston Business Journal, GPS FinTech instructor Sarah Biller discusses Boston fintechs and their unique position to be able to transform the finance industry and solve some of America’s most pressing financial challenges. Biller is co-founder of FinTech Sandbox and founding advisor of MassChallenge FinTech.

Read the full article here, and request more information about studying FinTech at Brandeis here.

How to stay current in your field in 2019

Technology’s impact on the world around us is undeniable and constant. From content marketing to e-learning, dabbling in the digital space is no longer optional for the majority of today’s industries. For those of us whose career advancement relies on staying on top of the latest trends and tools, flexible professional development options can be a saving grace.

The following online courses are built to help professionals keep abreast of some of the most anticipated trends of the upcoming year. What steps will you take to stay on top of your industry in 2019?

#1 Launching FinTech Ventures

Financial technology is a rapidly growing industry as new ventures continue to capitalize on technological innovations. According to FinTech Global, 2018 was a record year for global FinTech investment, with the sector raising $41.7 billion in just the first half of the year, far surpassing 2017’s total global investment. Launching FinTech Ventures provides a window into the world of FinTech innovation and FinTech startup financing. The course explores different options of venture capital investments, including crowd-sourcing and self-funding, and develop the skills needed to pitch your product, coming to understand financing from the perspective of both the investor and the entrepreneur.

#2 Robot Sensing and Perception

Artificial intelligence is at the forefront of technological innovations primed to change the world as we know it. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology says that, “By 2030, it is likely that AIs will have achieved a type of sentience, even if it is not human-like. They will also be able to exercise varying degrees of control over most human communications, financial transactions, transportation systems, power grids, and weapons systems…and we will have no way of dislodging them.” This course in robot sensing and perception provides an introduction to Computer Vision and AI, with several topics relevant to robotics such as SLAM, 3D Geometry, 3D Reconstruction, object recognition, speech recognition, classification, and RANSAC. In the course, you’ll design, implement, and test programmatic solutions for solving robot perception tasks such as vision and speech.

#3 Writing for Digital Environments

Companies are always seeking ways to be better, faster and stronger to gain an edge over their competition. With developing technologies and growing staff, it’s important to have the skills needed to excel in a digital world. According to the  Strada Institute for the Future of Work, “There is a discernible labor market demand for agile and resilient thinkers who have a handle on digital literacies—basic technical skills like data analysis and digital fluency.” Writing for Digital Environments is a great course for learning how to excel in the art of content marketing for a digital audience. You’ll also learn to craft copy and messaging for a variety of online formats.

#4 Adaptive and Game-Based E-Learning Design

In addition to the rising trend in adaptive and game-based e-learning in higher education, the growth rate for game-based learning in corporate segments is very high with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 53.4% globally according to Meetari. In Adaptive and Game-Based E -Learning Design, you’ll learn how adaptive learning techniques, technologies, and platforms can be used to support personalized and customized learning and training. You’ll also have the opportunity to plan, storyboard, and prototype an adaptive learning game or interactive module.

Part-time, online professional development courses are a great way to stay current on what’s happening in your industry  while allowing you still balance your personal and professional commitments. At Brandeis GPS, all courses are asynchronous, allowing a lot of flexibility for students throughout each week, and students can eventually apply the graduate-level credits they earn toward a master’s degree.

Students interested in eventually pursuing a master’s degree with Brandeis GPS can take up to two courses before applying. To learn more, contact gps@brandeis.edu, call 781-736-8787 or visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Looking back: the growth of Python

Since Guido van Rossum first released Python to the public in 1991, it has become one of the fastest growing major programming languages and established itself as the defacto language among varied scientific communities.

Python is particularly valuable to today’s forward-thinking industries and technologies, including data science and machine learning. Its intuitive platform makes it appealing for new programmers, yet it can also serve as a tool for more complex purposes.

Some of the features of Python include:

  • Minimal keywords, simple structure, and a clearly defined syntax
  • Code that is much shorter than former industry-leader JavaScript
  • A broad standard library that is portable and compatible on a number of hardware platforms
  • A mode allowing interactive testing and debugging of pieces of code
  • Tool customization for efficiency using added low-level modules

Master Python Programming

Brandeis GPS offers multiple online courses that teach the programming language specific to certain industries: Python Programming (FinTech), Bioinformatics Scripting and Python Programming (Bioinformatics), and Python for Robotics and AI  (Robotics). All three courses are available for professional development as long as students can demonstrate previous basic experience with a programming language (or undergraduate-level coursework).

Brandeis GPS offers rolling admission to our 12 fully-online master’s degree programs, so you can apply and be accepted at any time. However, we do have recommended deadlines if you are seeking admission for a specific term. The deadline to apply to our Spring 1 session is Wednesday, December 19. You can apply here. Those interested in taking a course who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still take up to two online courses without officially enrolling.

To learn more about GPS courses or graduate programs, check out our website or contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

FinTech in Boston

With hundreds of startups and some of the world’s largest asset managers, custodial banks, and insurers, it’s no surprise that Boston is a hub for financial technology. Boston is home to many companies in the financial services industry, large and small, including Circle, MassMutual, Flywire, and FinTech Sandbox. In the upcoming week, September 10-14, 2018, these organizations and more will come together for Boston FinTech Week 2018. The theme of this year is: Moving Beyond Volatility.

As part of a collaboration between Boston’s accelerators, institutions, startups, universities, firms, and co-working spaces, events will highlight content on new models and technologies that move markets forward. Throughout the week there are more than 35 free events across downtown Boston celebrating FinTech innovation. Events range from Fintech for Social Impact to Innovation in Insurance. See the full list of the events taking place and register for each event individually here.

For those in the financial sector looking for the technical skill-sets necessary to build a FinTech career, Brandeis GPS will be offering the following course this fall: FinTech: The Evolution of Technology for Financial Services. The 10-week, fully online course will explore FinTech as a solution to challenges facing an inter-connected global marketplace. It will address the evolution of the financial industry landscape, the challenges and opportunities this new era presents, and the drivers behind the change.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech, or would like to explore technology for FinTech as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

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