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Post-secondary Programs Powering Waterloo's Fintech Future

Discover which local post-secondary programs are generating top-notch fintech talent in Waterloo.

Whether you’re in finance, insurance or banking, your future workforce is waiting for you in Waterloo. 

Waterloo Region is home to more than 80 fintech companies, specializing in everything from big data to blockchain, and dozens of research labs and commercialization hubs that are pushing the pace on new finance and technology innovations. 

It’s also the #1 small tech talent market in North America and has the fifth-highest concentration of finance and insurance workers. On top of all that, Waterloo’s three post-secondary schools are fueling an incredibly rich talent pipeline for fintech companies.  

These are just some of the reasons Waterloo Region could be the perfect place to grow your business. In this article, we’ll explore the strengths of Waterloo’s fintech sector and showcase the post-secondary programs that are producing the next generation of fintech workers in our community.  

What is fintech? 

Fintech, short for financial technology, refers to the innovative technology that is designed to automate the delivery and use of financial services. At their core, fintech solutions help companies, business owners and consumers manage their financial operations with ease and efficiency. 

Companies like PayPal, Mastercard, Square, Stripe and are leading the fintech industry, leveraging AI and other digital technologies to streamline operations, enhance security and create seamless transactions for both businesses and consumers. 

Why Waterloo wins in fintech 

Waterloo’s fintech sector is fueled by the following factors:  

  • Strategic location: Situated within the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, Waterloo is only a short drive to Toronto (105km/65mi), North America’s 2nd largest financial center. The corridor is home to 250,000+ tech workers who are contributing to tech innovation. 
  • Established financial services and insurance companies: Waterloo has the 3rd highest concentration of finance and insurance professionals in North America, thanks to major insurance companies like Manulife, Sunlife, Definity Financial and Equitable Life locating their head offices here.  
  • Industry Innovation Labs: Many national banks have also established innovation labs here, including TD, CIBC and Scotiabank. Given Waterloo’s proximity to Toronto, these companies can tap into the region’s tech ecosystem to access talent and develop new products.  
  • Supportive startup ecosystem: Waterloo’s vibrant startup ecosystem is enriched by support organizations like Communitech, Velocity and the Accelerator Centre. These hubs support fintech startups by offering networking and mentorship opportunities, funding and shared workspaces. 

Post-secondary programs for fintech careers  

The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College produce some of our region’s best talent through a variety of specialized programs that prepare graduates for success in fintech positions. 

Co-operative education – which is offered by most of these programs – further increases graduate preparation, providing up to two years of work experience before officially entering the workforce.  

Programs offered by local schools span multiple business areas, including computer science, finance and statistical analysis. Let’s look at some of the specific programs offered in Waterloo.  

Computer Science and Engineering 

Graduates with computer science and engineering degrees have the technical skills required to design and develop software applications, algorithms and other systems commonly used in the industry.  

    • Bachelor of Computing and Financial Management 
    • Bachelor of Computer Science  
    • Bachelor of Computer Science in Data Science  
    • Bachelor of Computer Science (Waterloo) and Business Administration (Laurier) Double Degree   
    • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering 
    • Bachelor of Software Engineering 
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 
    • Bachelor of Computer Science and Business Administration Double Degree   
    • Bachelor of Computer Science 
    • Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems Engineering  

Mathematics and Statistics 

Fintech often involves complex mathematical models and data analysis. Mathematics and statistics programs provide graduates with the quantitative skills necessary to design and build these models, as well as to analyze and interpret resulting data. 

  • University of Waterloo 
    • Bachelor of Mathematics with options in Statistics, Actuarial Science, Mathematical Finance and Data Science  
    • Bachelor of Mathematics (Waterloo) and Business Administration (Laurier) Double Degree 
    • Master of Actuarial Science 
  • Wilfrid Laurier University 
    • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics 
    • Bachelor of Science in Data Science  
    • Master of Mathematics with options in Financial Mathematics and Statistics 
    • Master of Applied Computing 

Business Administration 

Business administration programs with a focus on finance or accounting create a strong foundation in financial analysis and investment management, which are essential skills in the fintech industry.  

  • University of Waterloo 
    • Master of Mathematics in Quantitative Finance 
    • Master of Accounting  
  • Wilfrid Laurier University 
    • Bachelor of Business Administration with a Finance concentration 
    • Master of Business Administration with a Finance or Financial Technology specialization 
  • Conestoga College 
    • Bachelor of Business Administration with Accounting, Audit and Information Technology options  

Financial Expertise 

Programs in financial planning and wealth management help students understand how financial services are used in practice. With a strong understanding of financial markets and the regulatory environment, graduates will be well-equipped to provide financial advice to clients. 

  • University of Waterloo 
    • Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management 
  • Wilfrid Laurier University 
    • Bachelor of Arts in Financial Mathematics 
    • Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Financial Management  
    • Bachelor of Business Administration and Financial Math Double Degree 
    • Master of Finance 
  • Conestoga College 
    • Financial Planning Diploma Program  
    • Financial Technology Diploma Program 

Information Technology 

Information technology (IT) programs provide the skills required for designing and implementing efficient computer systems. Graduates with these skills can be employed in roles such as systems analysts, security analysts and network administrators. 

  • Conestoga College 
    • Computer Programming Diploma Program 
    • Information Technology Diploma Program 
    • Computer Programming and Analysis Advanced Diploma Program 
    • Cybersecurity Response Planning Certificate  
    • Computer Applications Development Graduate Certificate Program 
  • University of Waterloo 
    • Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering or Software Engineering 
    • Master of Computer Science 
    • Master of Engineering in Computer Engineering or Software Engineering  

You + Waterloo = Growth 

The fintech industry relies heavily on skilled professionals with specialized expertise. Waterloo Region’s educational institutions provide the training required for graduates to succeed and create a talent pool that local companies can trust.  

Add in Waterloo’s established finance companies, its supportive environment and its strategic location and you can quickly calculate that Waterloo is a prime expansion destination for your finance or fintech company to grow.  

Interested in Waterloo’s fintech space?

We can help you access government incentives, locate resources and facilitate a smooth expansion process. Get in touch with our team to learn more.