Careers in Cashless Economy

Gauri Chhabra
Over the past year or so, following demonetization, India has been making ardent efforts to move towards a cashless transaction economy by minimising the use of physical cash. This is in consonance with ‘Digital India’ programme which has a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. “Faceless, Paperless, Cashless” is one of professed role of Digital India. The leading advantage of building a cashless economy is elimination of black money. This has other implications on the economy. It changes the face of existing jobs and also  sends a spiral of new set of jobs and careers.
Let us take a look.
Upscaling of sectors and careers
If we have to move towards a digital economy, we also need to build an infrastructure around it. In 2014 (as per the  data available), there were 18 ATMs and 13 commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults – in comparison, the number in Brazil was 129 and 47 respectively. If we have to keep pace with the growing use of plastic currency, we need to step up the infrastructure in terms of ATM’s in the rural and semi urban areas.This would mean an increase in jobs related to construction and infrastructure.
Financial/ Digital Literacy:
To gravitate towards a cashless economy, there has to be a complete change of mindset in India. People have to start trusting other forms of transaction other than cash. RBI and many other premier banks conduct the literacy programmes in the rural areas, especially. However, the literacy levels, especially related to finance and digital usage, have to improve. This is a pre-condition for the success of the digital push or the cashless economy. A nationwide financial literacy campaign accompanied by a medium-term strategy to improve access to, and awareness of, electronic payments has to be launched. Targeted financial education programmes can improve financial skills and credit management, and increase account ownership. The RBI and finance ministry have made Financial Literacy Centres (FLCs) a cornerstone of the PMJDY. These centres provide tailored financial education programmes to introduce adults to banking products and setting financial goals. Well-publicised literacy activities conducted at the 1,400-odd FLCs will go a long way in realizing the vision of a cashless-economy. So, if you have an understanding of the Digital world and are willing to train, there are various job opportunities available for you.
Due to the change in the way money changes hands, there has been an upscale of Fintech sector with many start ups garnering attention. As credit underwriting for MSMEs remains a challenge, fintech firms bringing in technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, psychometric analysis and social media behaviour analytics to evaluate credit-worthiness is a welcome development. This creates a need for IT jobs that have a confluence of Finance and technology- both as a functional consultant who has an idea of how the system works and also someone who can write code for such applications and has an understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning.
One thing that is in no doubt, however, is that the phenomenon of the cryptocurrency is here to stay; in fact, it has opened up a whole new sector in the crossover world between the IT and financial investment fields. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Asiadigicoin have also been the recipients of a positive upswing from Modi’s currency purge.The interest in cryptocurrencies themselves is almost matched by the increasing attention that is being paid to the underlying blockchain technology, which many think could revolutionize the way we do business in wider ways than were ever imagined.
Tech companies, banks, consulting firms and private sector businesses are all hiring blockchain developers, and demand is currently outstripping supply. This has led to a spike in the number of small business consultancies springing up to meet demand and get a slice of the pie.In many cases, large companies will look to build a team around a small core of developers with expertise in blockchain technology. This means a wealth of support roles for anyone with solid software engineering and development skills and a basic understanding of the underlying blockchain principles. You may get a job as a Social Media Marketing Manager (Cryptocurrency), Cryptocurrency Engineer, Marketing Content Manager, Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Associate. It is also true that it is not all about blockchain. Anyone with expertise in aspects such as online security and networking can also play a vital role alongside the developers. You would need to beef up your Engineering degree with the following courses from abroad:
Universities that Offer Blockchain Courses
George Mason University offers a master/phd level course “Blockchain Technologies”
University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign offers “Cryptocurrency Security”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a course called “Shared public ledgers, cryptocurrencies”
New York University- USA
Duke University- USA
Princeton University- USA
Stanford University- USA
University of California- Berkeley- USA
Mobile wallets:
A natural offshoot of a cashless economy is mobile wallet industry. The value and volume of mobile wallet transactions more than doubled in the last year alone and as such the industry is leading the charge to making India a cashless economy. Increased adoption of smartphones and mobile data packages has been one of largest contributors to this growth and as the penetration of the technology increases and mobile data costs come down, the industry is primed for further growth. Mobile wallet providers have now become a kind of mini banking institutions (Payments banks) and it would not be surprising if they will get their banking licenses, and follow the path like Paytm, Airtel etc.
The mobile wallet roles not only include those of developers who make a good product, but also market it in a way that touches every consumer aspect from excellent UI/UX to all basic wallet features to one touch payment -millennial generation – to one to one customer engagement. Then there are roles that can bring about an integration between hardware and software and also an expertise in NFC which is now available on nearly all high-end smartphones. This will be very lucrative if we take into consideration the Government’s agenda of financial inclusion.