Tim Birbeck, Chief of Staff for Vanguard’s Information Technology and Security division, didn’t plan to be in IT. He wanted to be a plumber. After all, it was the profession of the main character in his favorite video game. And like his hero, he wanted to chase bad guys, travel new worlds, and save the day. That was, until he learned that he could actually make his own video games, which started a lifelong passion for technology that still exists today. Tim shared this story, among others, with students attending Techies Day at Vanguard – an event designed to expose high school students to technology careers.
“IT is seen as being heads down, but I believe we are the most collaborative field in the world.” Tim told the students. He described Vanguard’s culture as being team oriented, and shared that IT crew have diverse career options – including software development, security, or infrastructure. In his current role, Tim gets to do what interests him the most – he loves gadgets, he likes figuring out how things work, and he has opportunities to polish his skills in non-IT areas, including leadership. In fact, he works closely with senior leaders and has exposure to their expertise and guidance.
The Techies Day event is designed for students at a key moment in their young adult lives – they’re researching continuing education options, exploring fields of study, and contemplating future careers. They are also starting to think about the kind of employer they want four years from now. For most students, that means a place where they are not only permitted to move between roles, but are actually encouraged to seek out other positions, take on new challenges, and enhance current skills. During their time at Vanguard, students had the opportunity to try on different roles with sessions focused on Big Data & Analytics, Enterprise 2.0 (a project aimed at integrating web tools into the workplace), and Security and IT. In these interactive discussions, students completed hands on activities where they got to see how it really felt Student with 360 headsetto be a product owner or engineer. They also heard speakers, visited a Tech Expo, and asked lots of questions.
Most importantly, the students learned that if they choose to come to Vanguard, they too will spend their days building new things, solving problems, and conquering new worlds.
Just like Tim’s hero.