Here's How to Even the Playing Field in Tech

Here's How to Even the Playing Field in Tech
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Why you should care

Because there’s a simple way to get more women in tech.

OZY and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have partnered to bring you an inside look at how entrepreneurs and their good business are helping the communities around them. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.

Tech Connect is a program sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Businesses strive to create innovative products and applications, but none of that is possible without top-notch talent. As technology advances at the speed of light, the need for tech-savvy graduates grows just as fast.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., for one, is responding to this need with Tech Connect, a program designed to attract the next generation of technology specialists, and especially to encourage more women to choose technology-based careers in areas that have typically been dominated by men.

“Technology’s ‘disruptive’ power continues to grow, and the need for skilled professionals has never been greater,” says Simon Cooper, head of JPMorgan Chase Technology for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “There is a war for talent out there, and you need to find new and different angles to solve the issue,” he explains, noting how all industries are relying on good technologists.

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The challenge was that we weren’t seeing enough women coming into the tech space.

 

But with less than 20 percent of those studying computer science today being women, there’s also a huge push for greater diversity. “A diverse technology workforce drives our innovation,” says Ali Marano, head of Talent Pipeline for Technology and Operations at JPMorgan Chase. “The challenge was that we weren’t seeing enough women coming into the tech space,” she adds.

Tech Connect provides graduates with four weeks of training and development to help them in the first steps toward a career in technology at JPMorgan Chase. The program recruits math and science majors in their final year of college as candidates for the program that will offer women basic programming skills, mentoring and networking opportunities. “We knew that if we continued to follow the path of just going after computer science graduates, then things wouldn’t change in the near term,” Marano admits.

It teaches us ‘about the need to define ourselves broadly, embrace constant change and build meaningful relationships in the workplace.’

 

But the program does more than open doors; it also sets participants up with skills they can use throughout their careers. Kenyetta Jeter, a technology analyst in JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Banking division, applauds the training for having provided her with lifelong skills. It teaches us “about the need to define ourselves broadly, embrace constant change and build meaningful relationships in the workplace,” she says. Tech Connect also equipped Jeter and her colleagues with a valuable network of dedicated mentors, which made them feel more engaged in the firm. But it also opened the floodgates for discussions about righting the gender imbalance in tech. Together, Jeter says, they “collectively acknowledge the gender gap in technology, and have an open dialogue about diversity of thought.”

A total of 40 students, divided equally between the United States and the United Kingdom, were selected for the program, which launched two years ago and grew significantly in Year Two, with admission doubling to more than 80 women last year. To learn more, please visit the Tech Connect page on the JPMorgan Chase Careers website.