Written by: Connie Huber, PHR, SHRM-CP
Denise Gredler, Founder and CEO, BestCompaniesAZ opened the meeting with an overview of upcoming events. These include the 2018 ATW Summit Alliance of Technology and Women on May 16 (men welcome too!) and Open Source, Open Mic Night at Galvanize Phoenix on June 20.
It is well known that technology is one of the fastest growing occupations in today’s workforce. Phoenix has become a hub for many technology companies and has been referred to as the “Silicon Desert” or the new “Silicon Valley.” Along with Phoenix’s growth, the number of available technology jobs has also grown. According to a recent article by Forbes Technology Council, the technology industry is projected to increase by 12% by 2024.
The Grand Canyon University Career Connector meeting provided job seekers a firsthand look into some of Arizona’s Best Technology companies.
Best Companies Panel 1 – Talent Recruitment in Technology
COMPANY OVERVIEWS & HOW TECHNOLOGY PLAYS A ROLE IN THE PANELISTS’ ORGANIZATIONS
Tech Finders: Tech Finders has been in the Valley for over 20 years and will soon will be changing its name to E-Finders. The organization also has HR & Finance divisions. Technology allows Tech Finders to run their business by connecting & sourcing candidates. Tech Finders has been using Chrome extensions to find phone & contact information for candidates.
VIXXO: VIXXO is a leading technology-enabled asset management and business insight company specializing in integrated facilities management. Clients include those in the restaurant, retail, convenience store & grocery industries. As an example, VIXXO utilizes technology in maintaining client information and a client dashboard.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Dignity’s mission and culture is “human kindness”. The focus is to deliver passionate patient care. Technology is the backbone that ensures patients experience quality patient care.
TECHNOLOGY FIELD – WHAT DOES THE TERM MEAN/AREAS COVERED
DIGNITY HEALTH: Dignity has a broad range of technology applications. Cyber Security is an avenue being explored. All patient information is part of the database established through technology. Dignity has every technical position offered.
VIXXO: VIXXO uses technology to establish links to clients and also keeps the clients current on services they provide. At the same time technology enables VIXXO to establish a portfolio of its clients and provide easy access to the data.
TECH FINDERS: Tech Finders recruits for all positions found in the technology industry. In addition, the organization partners with technology companies and leverages technology to help them grow. Tech Finders supports anything related to data, including everything from AI technology to marketing.
HOW TO GET INTO TECHNOLOGY FIELD; WAYS TO GET EXPOSURE
TECH FINDERS: Tech Finders has partnered with GCU and Coder Camps to find candidates and learn more about technology. Professionals new to technology need to learn as much as they can about their specialty and be a lifelong learner. Ways to get into the field are by attending networking events attended by other tech folks and seize the opportunities to continue their education.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Dignity encourages people who want to get into technology to become immersed in technology groups. Successful technology professionals are those that are continuously learning. There has been a shift from the requirement of candidate’s having a 4-year degree to now having certifications and/or apprentice type roles. Contract work is a great avenue into an organization.
ADVICE FOR PERSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES
DIGNITY HEALTH: Dignity looks for some experience in technology. They also look for attitude, passion and relationship management skills. When interviewing, it is essential to know about the company and important details about the pending position. Practice interviewing and don’t assume casual dress is appropriate. Dress professionally and leave your jeans and sweats at home. Know your technical skills and capabilities and be able to present them effectively.
VIXXO: VIXXO has a collaborative environment. Candidates need to thrive in this type of work place. Heather looks for attitude and aptitude. Perspective employees need to be willing to have their ideas challenged. If an applicant does not know technology or a specific type of technology it shouldn’t be on the resume.
TECH FINDERS: Kristy feels soft skills are equally as important as technical ones. Candidates need to be prepared for the interview. Agility is a key success skill for the technology field. Perspective employees need to be able to relate their technology knowledge effectively. Critical thinking skills also play a key role for success.
RECRUITING AVENUES USED TO FIND THE RIGHT CANDIDATES
VIXXO: Heather finds candidates through networking and by reaching out to her network and technology team. Passive job seekers are found through LinkedIn.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Dignity has an intern program for technology professionals. Another great resource is contract work for the job seeker. Dignity uses a myriad of avenues to find the right candidates. Employee referrals present many opportunities for new hires.
TECH FINDERS: Tech Finders has been in the valley for 20 years. They have a database of 70,000 candidates. Kristy encouraged job seekers to be on LinkedIn and easily found on the site.
EMPLOYEE REFERRALS – ARE THEY HELPFUL IN FINDING A JOB
VIXXO: VIXXO looks at candidates that have been referred by employees. LinkedIn is great way to connect with VIXXO employees. Be sure to share your desired position and provide a resume.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Theresa reminded us if you are unfamiliar with LinkedIn, attend a seminar.
TECHNOLOGY ASPECTS THAT PANELISTS HAD NOT EXPECTED
DIGNITY HEALTH: Therese loves working with technologists. The Technology Team is committed to Dignity’s mission of giving back to the community. They are very creative and passionate about what they do; and savvy about technology.
VIXXO: Heather noted that technology is evolving. Professionals in the field need to be lifelong learners. They also need to be successful in a collaborative and agile work environment.
TECH FINDERS: Kristy really likes the fact that technology is changing. No day is the same. Technology needs are diverse.
FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY IN AZ
TECH FINDERS: Kristy noted technology and Arizona are exploding. Currently there 9,000 technology jobs open in Phoenix. 2017 marked the highest amount of Angel investments. Phoenix is quickly becoming bigger than Silicon Valley. Efforts are focused on attracting and retaining technology students in Phoenix.
VIXXO: Heather echoed that Phoenix is one of the hottest technology markets. She feels that technology and Phoenix will continue to grow.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Therese also feels the future is bright for Phoenix. She noted that many organizations are using Phoenix as a technology hub.
POSSIBILITY OF 50+ PROFESSIONALS STARTING A NEW CAREER IN TECHNOLOGY THROUGH AN INTERN PROGRAM
DIGNITY HEALTH: Therese is supportive in considering the possibility of an intern program for 50+ professionals. She noted that many professionals in healthcare do not retire and want to keep working.
JOB SEARCH CAN BE VERY IMPERSONAL ESPECIALLY WHEN DEALING WITH APPLICATIONS. MANY COMPANIES USE COMPUTERS TO SCAN APPLICATIONS. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE IT MORE PERSONAL?
TECH FINDERS: Kristy suggested using LinkedIn to find appropriate connections where you can share your resume. If you know a target company is participating in a career fair, be sure to attend it.
DIGNITY HEALTH: Therese encouraged job seekers to use every possible resource and not rely on one source in conducting your search.
For current positions and to learn more about careers with these Best Companies, please visit their websites.
BEST COMPANIES PANEL #2 – Technology Career Pathways
OVERVIEW OF COMPANY & WHAT PANELISTS LIKE ABOUT THEIR COMPANY CULTURE
GODADDY: Indu shared that the company culture is very important to her and GoDaddy. Overall, the culture is accountable, collaborative, driven, talented, motivated and customer focused.
FREEDOM FINANCIAL: Rama noted that Freedom Financial provides debt relief and works with clients to get out of debt. She has been at Freedom a short time, but really likes the company and its core values. The culture is collaborative, integrating, and allows opportunities for employees to better themselves. Employees are constantly learning and follow the company’s core values. Freedom is quickly growing and plans to add an additional 1,000 employees in 2018.
USAA: Jaime noted USAA serves 12 billion members. The company is growing and has an employee population of 1,000+ in Phoenix. Jaime indicated the culture is great at USAA. It is a self-reciprocal company and has an average tenure of 11 years. USAA has won many accolades and awards in many areas.
SKILLS NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN TECHNOLOGY
GODADDY: Indu stressed that GoDaddy wants to see proof of the technology knowledge of perspective candidates. She suggested having a portfolio to highlight your experience and skills. Career paths are straight and narrow. Candidates need to find work that aligns with their strengths. Technology professionals need to be constantly learning.
USAA: Jaime said he could type 75 wpm when he first started with USAA. He went on to get his degree and then moved into a lateral role. Jaime really likes USAA. Employees in the technology field need to be team players, humble, and collaborative.
FREEDOM FINANCIAL: Rama was originally going to be a CPA. One drawback was her desire to have a lot of interaction with people. She had to find how to align herself in technology, which she really likes.
TYPES OF TECHNOLOGY POSITIONS & AVAILABLE HOT JOBS
GODADDY: GoDaddy is looking for a software development engineer, security engineer-network defense, workday global reporting analyst, and cloud security architect. Technology professionals who know how to code are in big demand. There are also multiple openings in the call center. Please refer to GoDaddy’s website for current openings.
FREEDOM FINANCIAL: Freedom is seeking a senior product manager, development ops engineer, front end/UI engineer, scrum master, java developer, software engineer and underwriting are a few of the openings. Employees can start in one role and the move into a technology role. For career opportunities go to Freedom Financial Network.
USAA: USAA is seeking a software integration engineer, business intelligence/ETL engineer, mainframe developer, front end software engineer and mainframe developer. Additional specifics and openings can be found here.
CONTINUTING EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES & REIMBURSED EDUCATION
GODADDY: GoDaddy does offer tuition reimbursement. They also offer online education opportunities, such as safari books and open source for coding. If employees are not involved in outside education, Indu encouraged the use of open source.
FREEDOM FINANCIAL: Freedom also has a reimbursement program.
USAAU: USAA encourages employees to find what type of learning works best for them and offers education assistance. Employees can also attend workshops, conferences and online courses.
RATE OF CHANGE – WHAT IS IT?
In brief, rate of change is a rate that describes how one quantity changes in relation to another quantity. An individual’s rate of change should exceed the company’s rate of change. To thrive in any industry, a company’s rate of change needs to outpace the industry.
GODADDY: Indu shared with us that when she first joined GoDaddy her team was using a particular code. If she had not changed the code, their efforts would have been outdated and placed the team in jeopardy of falling behind. The group did not have the luxury to accept the status quo, but needed to take the lead in introducing a new code.
Scott Caruso, Software Development Advisor
Jessica Pierce, Executive Director, Career Connectors, closed the meeting by thanking Grand Canyon University and the volunteers. The next Career Connectors meeting will be in Scottsdale on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 and features Jean Briese, as speaker for the topic “Becoming Unstoppable.” For additional information on this event and future events, please visit the Event Schedule.