If you’re studying finance in college, you’ve likely been introduced to a wide range of topics. However, as you look toward your job prospects post-graduation, you may be asking yourself, “Which of these skills am I really going to need to use the most?” This is an understandable question, since nobody wants to feel like their degree is a waste of money — particularly a finance student!
While different industries are going to expect different skillsets from their finance team, some core traits and areas of expertise are certain to give you a leg-up when considering your job prospects. Whether you’ve already learned them in your degree program or need to fill in the gaps on your own time, here are three things every finance student should know.
One of the most basic skillsets on this list is really knowing how to use a computer — it’s pivotal to succeeding in the world of finance. Many times, a career in finance will require using different models or pieces of software in order to analyze or forecast various financial outcomes. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of how to use a computer for more than just browsing the internet and playing games, you could find yourself in hot water quickly.
While it may seem silly to suggest that anyone graduating from college in the past decade wouldn’t be computer literate, using laptops and desktop computers can vary from platform to platform and office to office. For example, if you’ve only ever used a Macbook Pro, but the job you’re applying for is strictly based on the Windows operating system, it may be worth looking into some cheaper laptops that run Windows and can help you learn the OS. A website like NewEgg specializes in a wide range of consumer electronics, letting you find a great deal on a machine that runs Windows with which you can learn new pieces of software and other tools to increase your marketability in the job pool.
Programming languages aren’t just for developers and managers anymore. In fact, data analysts and financial advisors may call upon skills in programming or coding in order to help perform their jobs better. When it comes to increasing your job marketability, knowing how to understand popular languages like Python or C++ can be two skills that really jump out on a resume thanks to their high demand.
While there’s some debate on whether or not you should learn C++ vs Python, ultimately which one you choose depends on a variety of factors, including how you intend to use your programming knowledge. Python is an open-source language, and, as such, happens to be used a little more frequently in broader applications, including areas of machine learning and banking and retail spaces. On the other hand, servers, microcontroller programs, and even video games can run on C++. Because of added complexity, C++ may be easier to learn after you’ve learned a language like Python, but ultimately the biggest difference will be how much you value traits like machine learning and how you intend on using these skills in the workforce.
One concept that isn’t always taught in your college courses is how to work with others and communicate effectively. Sure, you might have a required Speech and Communications course, but more often than not you’ll be speaking to clients one-on-one in the field of finance, not in front of large groups of people. As such, it’s crucial that you work on how you connect and engage with others, especially when explaining lofty topics like finances.