In a second installment of our Meet the Maxcoders series, we are offering another glimpse of how team managers within Maxcode have achieved a unique understanding of innovation, of what makes a product successful, and of the perfect mix for a fintech development team.
Today you get to meet Claudiu Costan, our team manager with an extensive experience in software development and cyber security, and discover his perspective on the fintech market and product development.
What is your professional background and how did it, in your opinion, help you better understand payment products today?
During my forming years, I was focused on achieving both a BSc in Computer Science as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management. I believe that the combination of these two backgrounds has enabled me to enter the financial market with a specific and different perspective on payment products.
A combination of factors – both ambition and being in the right moment – has created the perfect setting for me to start a job in Maxcode back in 2008, as a software developer. Being young, fearless and enthusiastic, I have constantly put myself in the position to learn and grow and continuously try new things. Which led me to where I am today, having worked on several projects, both small and enterprise, in industries ranging from healthcare to finance. This vast experience has given me the strength and ability to teach others and to support them in their role.
Looking back, I believe that it was the context of working on financial products within Maxcode that triggered my former background in business administration and management. Understanding the context, observing the market and assessing the right choices for each instance are steps taken into consideration with any business context, yet it worked flawlessly in my experience with payment projects. Once the wheels started spinning, I became more involved and interested in the world of fintech, and now I would never go back.
There is a lot to learn from our clients: being an enthusiastic and open individual, I am easily able to discuss with our clients their operational, business, development needs, and more. By carrying out open conversations about the product and the needs, you are ultimately exposed to, and as a result, you learn about the wonderful and complex world of payments.
How do you feel that the payments market has changed in the past 5 years? What are the main challenges that come with those changes?
I would say that the payments market has incredibly evolved in the past years with an emphasis on two main axes: security and openness.
Far from me to imply that 5 years ago enterprise applications were not secure, but rather that now writing secure code is so deep into our DNA that it makes writing quality software a bit easier. The use of newer, more powerful tools that inspect code, analyze common vulnerabilities, and check all used libraries, makes software development teams more confident in the delivered pieces of software.
We now see companies being more aware of how the market should behave and taking action towards this trend, by investing money and time in keeping their infrastructure and software up-to-date.
Releases and timelines of software development have accelerated in the past years, thus enabling a much faster time-to-market of newly developed features. Fintech users want new features available as fast as possible, yesterday not today, and they are not willing to wait 2 years for a big player to work on refining the perfect software. Being Agile enables us to help companies develop small POCs or MVPs that have short time-to-market and build upon those pieces of software, by also incorporating the valuable feedback from the market in real-time. This way, our partners can already be present on the market, small, but growing at a very fast pace to being absolute leaders in the industry.
What has been the biggest innovation that you witnessed in payments since you have been working within Maxcode, either business or technical?
I would say that PSD2 and Open Access to the account will push the payments industry to the next level. There are so many new players joining the market now, with fresh perspective and with the right tools at their disposal.
The age of going to the bank and waiting in line is finally over and a new chapter of fintech is upon us.
This bright idea also pushes for new technology implementations in order to keep the customers’ data secure while offering the required access to it. This way, banks are ‘forced’ by the market to innovate and to upgrade their infrastructure.
Opening up access to the data is also vastly beneficial to the end-consumer that can choose the tools that fit their needs best.
What is the secret of a well-oiled fintech development team, in your opinion? What are some of the skills that are needed in fintech software development?
A well-oiled fintech development team needs to have at least 3 critical elements: trust, knowledge and vision. This mix creates a solid group that has the potential to into a self-managing team that can rock the world.
As a development team, we need to have the right vision in place. We have the skills to build the right items, we just need to understand the context and the business needs. Having cyclic discussions with business stakeholders allows development teams to ask the right questions and to deepen their grasp on what is to be delivered, when and how.
You never stop learning in the software development world. This is a true state-of-mind that allows an individual (or an entire team) to be up to speed with recent technological breakthroughs and to be able to choose the right tools for the job at hand.
This carries even more weight when it comes to fintech software development: from what I noticed, software engineers that initially had little understanding of the industry gradually gain this knowledge – yet sometimes the process of gathering the knowledge, at least for a team with no experience in the domain, can take from 6 up to 12 months. This means a lot of time lost before the development team can gain enough business knowledge so that they can speak the same language as the product team. This is why, in order to build a good fintech product, you also need software engineers that have the right experience in building finance products.
How do you think that the future of fintech in Europe will look like?
From my point of view, the fintech word will explode with start-ups that will compete in offering the most flexible, fast, nice looking and fun solution out there for different types of users.
We are already either witnessing companies offering solutions for parents to oversee their child expenses, or others creating an investment fund based on micro-payments. With the pandemic offering the boost that companies did not know they needed to turn digital, the finance future that we imagined years ago and that seemed sci-fi might not be so far-fetched after all. And with fintech influencing other markets as well, such as Regtech (Regulatory technology) and Wealthtech (wealth management technology), we will likely see industry players collaborating for innovation and changes in these sectors, like never before.
The fintech world is so diverse and offers a lot of new opportunities and challenges, therefore I am ecstatic of what the future will provide us.
About Claudiu Costan
Claudiu, a strong believer of the WOW effect, has been working with Maxcode for over 12 years and has grown from being .NET Developer into a Team Leader, Scrum Master, and now Team Manager.You’ll usually see him alongside our clients to better understand their business objectives, with teams to aid them in their day-to-day activities, or just walking around the office and helping all colleagues in need.
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