3. Define your value proposition.

If you spin it right, plenty of tech companies will jump at the chance to hire a multidimensional candidate. “What skills, experience, and qualifications enable you to easily hit the ground running and contribute immediately?” asks Cohen. “The goal is to show that your skills can easily be repurposed to benefit the new environment.”

Sudhakaran, adds, “Career programmers are usually very skilled at what they do, but might lack exposure to business cases and context — which can be something finance professionals can bring with them.”

Startups are in the perfect position to benefit from well-rounded candidates. Highlight how you’ll be able to not only work effectively in development/software/data/your chosen tech specialty, but also contribute finance and business insights and understand the big picture.

4. Seek out a FinTech company.

It’s the best of both worlds: at a company that blends finance and technology, both of your skillsets will automatically be valued and usable. “For someone who is further in their career and has a specialization, I’d recommend looking for a tech company in a tangential arena,” says Lang. “There are a number of great fintech companies that offer opportunities for people who have a finance background.”

Cohen adds, “Recognize that your experience in a traditional Wall Street function will be invaluable to a tech company working on automating and then marketing this function.”

5. Consider whether there’s a gap in the market you can fill with your own startup.

Finance professionals are typically accustomed to fast-paced industries and comfortable with the idea of calculated risks. Both of these traits lend themselves well to the world of startups and business ownership.

Jessica Postiglione, CEO and cofounder of OLIKA, explains, “I made the transition by demonstrating that the skills one obtains in finance are directly transferable to running a company. In finance, you analyze a company’s operations inside and out, determine if they have a viable business plan, their path forward for growth and their position in the marketplace. All things I did when I was starting my company: what is our value prop? how do we make money? who are our competitors? what is the market opportunity?”

Ultimately, running a successful business does come down to understanding numbers, says Jaymin Mehta, founder of Newbury Mills: “It is important to understand the costs, margin, overhead, and how decisions affect the bottom line. Not truly understanding this, or mismanaging this, could reduce the runway a startup has. That could make the difference between success and failure. Know your numbers!”

6. Seek out resources and support networks.

This applies to anyone making a career change, regardless of industries: don’t try to do it all alone. Glean insight from those who have done it before, and connect yourself with mentors or thought leaders who can help guide you. Plus, networking early can lead you to the people and opportunities that have the potential to change your life and career.

Says Ben Chaung, the former Operations Manager at Blue Apron and current cofounder at Big Apple Buddy, “Put in the networking hard yards. In my case, I had over 150 coffee chats before landing on my position with Blue Apron!”

Personal support networks matter too. “The key to the transition is that you need to have a strong investment thesis, good network, and support of family and friends,” says Peter Ho, founder of MultiplyIQ. Also recognize the personal factors and lifestyle differences that changing careers may bring: “One hurdle finance professionals need to overcome is to feel comfortable with risk and change of lifestyle.”

Whether you join an existing startup, start your own, or take your burgeoning tech career in a different direction, don’t leave your past behind entirely. Take it with you and make it work for you in your new role.


Laurence Bradford is a product manager at Teachable, an EdTech enthusiast, and the creator of Learn to Code With Me, a blog and podcast helping self-taught coders get ahead in their lives + careers.