Over the past three years, Productive Edge (PE) and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have collaborated in bringing professional insights and experiences to collegiates working towards technologically-focused degrees. In January 2018, students enrolled within the Black Tech Scholars program at UIC traveled to PE's downtown Chicago office for a "job shadowing" event, continuing the annual tradition between the two organizations.
With a goal of promoting the value of technological proficiency and the professional opportunities it provides, a team of PE employees set up multiple stations highlighting various job roles found in a typical software workspace. Rotating through the stations, students were paired with real professionals and discussed day-to-day responsibilities, ultimately leading to holistic understanding of the vital skills necessary for technological careers.
The role-specific stations focused on business analysis, project management, front-end and back-end development, quality assurance, virtual reality, resume guidance, and interviewing expertise. Each station provided students the opportunity to meet employees and discuss the particular skills needed for their respective positions. While the business analysis station overviewed prioritization and communication skills, developer stations focused more on coding best practices and techniques. Differing insights such as these leads to greater recognition of the entire software development life cycle, which is crucial for the collegiates to understand.
After the stations concluded, students took time to reflect on additional insights such as:
- Benefits of transferable skills between job responsibilities
- Continual learning and adaptation throughout one’s career
- The importance of positive interactions between colleagues and clients
- Significance of pursuing one’s interests, exemplified by the passion in PE employees
- The value of real-world experience outside of the classroom
Both the stations and reflection session provided students different perspectives regarding the various goals, skills, practices, and mentalities necessary for the respective job roles. When paired with the résumé evaluations and interviewing advice, the entire event gave students a better understanding of what it takes to be proficient in the professional technology landscape. Ultimately, the guidance and direction given in the job shadowing event can lead to brighter opportunities for successful careers, no matter what area of technology students aim to pursue.
If you would like to partner with PE for future collaborations and events, please connect with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-561-9000. You can also learn more about the UIC Black Tech Scholars program, led by Joseph Fields, by visiting https://advising.uic.edu/
Thank you to all of the Productive Edge employees that dedicated time and effort in this event!