Intuit partners with AnitaB.org for a technology immersion program
Financial software giant Intuit and nonprofit AnitaB.org have joined forces for a new pilot program designed to increase the number of women in tech and help those who may change careers.
The first Apprenticeship Pathway program saw 11 women participate in a six-month software development program where they learned specific technical skills, were mentored by developers from Intuit, and supported each other as they transitioned to a new domain.
The program has been designed to help those without programming experience and has been specially designed for those who may have a general interest in technology but have never worked in technology-oriented roles before.
The free program paid apprentices as they learned software development and was completely remote, allowing applicants to register from anywhere. All hardware, software and other technological tools were provided to the participants. For those who complete the program, there will be opportunities to work for Intuit in California.
AnitaB.org CEO Brenda Darden Wilkerson said the program offers plenty of opportunities not only to transition into a new job, but also to diversify the technological talent pool.
“One of the things we are looking to do at AnitaB.org is really to dispel the myth that there is only one narrow path to technology. There are now multiple paths to technology,” said Wilkerson. “It was a chance to bring more women, and women from all walks of life, into tech.”
Wilkerson added that 475 people applied for the 11 places, showing that there is widespread interest in these types of programs.
Tracy Stone of Intuit, who is leading the initiative, told ZDNet that the company is keen to learn how to attract, engage and develop women in technical roles and has already organized other programs designed to diversify their workforce. artwork.
The program was divided into three phases: the learning phase, the learning phase and the career support phase.
“We’ve seen the success of these non-traditional pathways to technology and we wanted to build on that,” Stone said.
“The learning phase is where they worked with our software development team to actually work and develop software for our products. They are integrated into our team and do a real job. Our goal is to support, empower and launch them in their careers. as software developers. “
Wilkerson said that while roles in Inuit are expected for participants, the program has other benefits, including the connections made with other women through the program, skills learned and mentors acquired.
She added that the ‘earn by learning’ model of learning was important because it allowed participants to focus and get the most out of their training without having to worry about another job.
Stone said that in addition to helping attendees, the company held workshops and provided each person with a technical mentor and another mentor. The apprentices were also able to chat with senior executives at Intuit and others within the company.
Wilkerson noted that the program was also useful for Intuit because it gave the company access to a different pipeline of talent. Instead of the typical hiring situation where someone goes through multiple interviews and gets hired, Intuit was able to spend months working with the 11 women, getting to know them, and learning how they work before hiring them.
“The other great thing is that the participants have a community. They know each other. When I started as a technologist, I went there alone and several times if you have questions about anything, technical or otherwise, you’re sort of by yourself, ”Wilkerson said.
“These apprentices have come together and the program provides additional support and guidance and will continue for a period of time once they are completed.”
Tamika Hayes, a program participant who switched to technology after a long career in nonprofit communications and higher education, said she was looking for different apprenticeships and opportunities, but was struck by this one because she felt safe and empowered by the idea that she would be working with a group of women, many of whom are women of color.
“To be able to problem-solve with a really amazing group of women and to develop expertise and confidence together was phenomenal. I think it served me well during the learning phase,” said Hayes.
Stone added that Intuit made sure to place the 11 women in just a few teams so as not to spread them too thinly and allow them to continue building the community that was favored during the initial phases of the program.
Wilkerson urged those who might be afraid of changing careers to take the leap given how technology evolves from year to year.
She said that women and people from diverse backgrounds are needed in the tech world and there need to be different routes to tech positions in addition to the typical routes. She wants more companies to start apprenticeships like this to attract more diverse developers.
Stone said that although this is a pilot project, they are interested in continuing the program and are already considering the next cohort to see how the program will evolve and grow.
It is also hoped that the first cohort of participants will be able to mentor the next set of women who will participate in the program, helping them support them on their journey as developers.
Stone also noted that the program has had an impact on Intuit employees as well, explaining that many were excited to participate as mentors and help a new generation of people become software developers.
Hayes said the program helped her as she initially made several forays into learning coding on her own and needed the structure, stability and support to focus on coding.
“To anyone who has a genuine interest or who feels drawn to technology but is not sure because they don’t already have the necessary knowledge, I would say apply and make the effort. there’s no way of knowing what’s possible for you until you’re in the environment. I can’t think of a better way to have been guided towards technology and a tech career, ”said Hayes .
“I was encouraged every step of the way and challenged in a way that really allowed me to grow both as a technologist and as a person.”