Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked James Stewart from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


James Stewart

Science Communicator

Smart Futures

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  James Stewart
Get some experience even if it is voluntary work so that you have an idea if you like the sector and you will have something to talk about at interview.

The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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IFS Advanced Specialist
In Summary header image

IFS Advanced Specialist

This is one of the new occupational apprenticeship programmes launched in 2016. 

IFS Advanced Specialist 

The IFS Advanced specialist is open to those with prior experience and either technical qualification or technical disposition.

Video: International Financial Services Apprenticeships at NCI

Training header image


All IFS apprenticeships are 2-years in duration. The apprentices spend 60% of their time working in IFS companies and the remainder gaining specific IFS qualifications.

IFS Advanced Specialist Apprentices will work four days per week in their company and study for the remaining one day per week in NCI over a two year period.


IFS Advanced Specialist Apprentices will study an MSc in Data Analytics or Fintech. On successful completion, will acheive a Level 9 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Personal Qualities header image

IFS Advanced Specialist Apprenticship is open to candidates:

  • Who are career changers
  • With prior career experience AND either technical qualification OR technical disposition
  • Who are motivated to get on board with an IFS career

Work Activities header image

Graduates from the IFS Advanced Masters programme are prepared for a wide range positions and roles across the Financial Services Sector.

This apprenticeship scheme delivers on skills identified in the Skills Needs Analysis of the International Financial Services Sector in Ireland, 2015 report by Summit Finuas Network, Partnered by Accenture and also delivers on elements of the IFS2020 Strategy.

Pay & Fees header image

A salary of €50,000 applies to the role of IFS Advanced Specialist.

Entry Requirements header image

The IFS Advanced Specialist is open to those with prior experience and either technical qualification or technical disposition.

Minimum Academic Requirements

Applicants are normally required to hold a minimum of a level 8 honours qualification (2.2 or higher) or equivalent on the National Qualifications Framework.

Applicants may be from a cognate or non-cognate disciplinary background.

All applications will be assessed for entry based on their commitment towards the academic requirements for the programme. This may be assessed using a written application from the learner and/or by interview.

Applications may also be considered under the College’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy and this is likely to be particularly germane to the part-time provision of the course. RPL will be assessed on the basis of a minimum of three years work experience and by portfolio or other appropriate method to establish their eligibility as measured against level 8 award standards.

Where there is insufficient evidence of numeracy skills, mature students may be required to complete an assessment to determine their suitability to the programme.

Non English speaking applicants must demonstrate fluency in the English language as demonstrated by IELTS academic score of at least 6.5 or equivalent.

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

How to apply

  • Complete and submit the relevant application details before the closing date
  • Applications will be reviewed based on relevant academic qualifications.
  • Successful applicants will be invited to a pre-selection event to be interviewed by a selection panel. Step
  • Successful applicants from the pre-selection event will meet with recruiting companies What then?
  • When successful candidates are recruited by financial services organisations, the relevant recruitment process will commence in the organisation.

Note [August 2016]: The application process for the first intake of IFS Advanced Specialist Apprenticeships closed on 8th June 2016 and is now oversubscribed. No further applications can be accepted at this time. This initiative will be advertised when further places become available. 

For further details click here.

See also 

Participating companies include:

Career Opportunities header image

Graduates from the Masters are prepared for positions and roles such as:

  • Data Scientist
  • Business Intelligence Analyst  
  • Knowledge and Informatics Engineer
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Mining Engineer
  • Business Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Engineer
  • Quantitative First and Second Tier Support Engineer
  • Information Officer
  • Back, and Mid Office Analytics
  • Capital Markets Analyst
  • Portfolio Management
  • (Hedge) Funds Analyst
  • Trader
  • Digital Trader
  • Bitcoin Analyst
  • Risk Management
  • Technical Consultant
  • Financial Consultant and
  • A wide range of technology support and financial services roles

Occupation Profile header image

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Progression Routes header image

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Occupation Data

Data Scientist

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