Students participating in the Computing Career Corps program, funded by the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, were provided the opportunity to participate in a career talk and panel discussion with local technology-industry professionals. Computing Career Corps introduces high school students to a variety of technology skills while at the same time exploring technology career pathways.
“When students have the opportunity to meet adults in high profile technology careers, they can move from imagining to realizing a career in technology,” explained TECH CORPS Central Ohio Regional Manager Kristen Gillenwater. “The Career Talk Panel is one of the highlights of the Computing Career Corps program because students are able to ask questions and hear real-world stories from technology professionals in their community. Students are able to see successful role models who look like them in the professions they want to pursue.”
This year, five industry professionals volunteered their time to virtually meet with students and share information about their companies, positions and training. Gregory Lee, Accenture, Technology Manager, shared with the students the importance of empathy in designing software for clients. He said, “If we don’t understand how our customers work and what their challenges are, we’re not going to design the best software tool to make them the most efficient.”
With her strong belief that diverse teams provide diverse solutions, Deloitte Digital Solutions Business Project Manage Sydney Graham Sturgis encouraged students to pursue technology. She said, “Automation and intelligent workflows are the way of the future. As a Project Manager, my goal is to drive intelligent workflows to drive the project to be the best it can be and can be implemented across the world.”
TECH CORPS programs introduce students to a variety of technology concepts at an awareness level and help them to realize the importance of life-long learning. Jermaine Henson, Nationwide Insurance Vice President, IT Applications, shared his experience, “I have been in technology for 20 years. I started writing code in COBOL then saw a mass migration to distributed platforms and now we’re talking about our migration to Amazon Web Services and Cloud Computing. The evolution of change in the technology industry is so rapid that you have to commit to being a life-long learner.”
Doug McCollough, Chief Information Officer for the City of Dublin, Ohio encouraged the students to believe in their capability. He explained, “Watch out for ‘Imposter Syndrome.’ When you’re given the opportunity to lead in a certain area, you begin to think to yourself, ‘How did I get here?’ ‘I’m not qualified to be here.’ When Imposter Syndrome comes for you, just keep moving. You are just as qualified as anybody else to do what people believe you can do.”
Vickie Bradley is the Executive Director, Program Execution Consumer and Community Banking, Digital Technology for JPMorgan Chase and believes learning and understanding your strengths will help students navigate to their desired careers. Bradley explained, “I started as a computer operator and through the years I have changed roles learning that my strengths are in communication and collaboration—bringing people together, tracking, managing and organizing. All of these strengths have culminated to bring me into my current role where I work with business teams and technology teams to help them understand what it will take to implement global product solutions.”
Each of the panelists provided profound insight into technology professions. As students asked questions, the panelists generously shared their experiences. TECH CORPS is grateful to these volunteers for participating and giving back to our community of learners.