United Way’s IT United Job Shadow days present high school students an opportunity to learn how Information Technology works. It also exposes them to an environment where they are encouraged to ask questions and find out “What do IT Professionals do all day?”
In December, my team and I had the pleasure to host 10 Washington High School students at Northwestern Mutual’s Franklin campus.
After a welcome by Northwestern Mutual's Senior VP of Operations and Technology, Tim Schaefer, the students learned what our company does and got the chance to interact with several other IT professionals. The students sat with our IT help desk and listened in as we addressed hardware and software issues. A mobile application developer also showed them how to make a simple coding change. Lastly a couple of project managers explained how large corporate projects are executed here at Northwestern Mutual.
Throughout the course of the day we had engaging discussions around what a typical day in IT is, how we ended up in our jobs and what education is needed for a career in IT.
The gap between available IT jobs and lack of resources to fill these jobs continues to grow. I believe the IT Job Shadow events, sponsored by United Way’s IT United Council, are a great opportunity for a company to dispel some of the myths around IT careers and encourage students to pursue a career that is very challenging and rewarding. The students walk away with a better understanding a of how to prepare for a job in IT.
- John Knecht, IT Director, Northwestern Mutual