Building our tech community’s talent pipeline

You’ve read the headlines — technology companies in Indiana are growing rapidly and talent is in high demand.

We heard the distress signal and we answered by providing four unique talent programs in 2016 that brought nearly 200 college students, new grads and career changers to jobs in tech in Indiana.

“Indiana’s tech community is in a really great spot. Companies like Appirio, Emarsys and Geofeedia have moved here, and venture capital firms are increasing investment here, but to continue to fuel that growth, we needed to grow the talent pipeline,” says Mike Langellier, CEO of TechPoint. “We needed not just a program, but a suite of programs.”

To fill and sustain that talent pipeline, TechPoint created college-to-career talent programs to serve these three purposes:

  • Provide one to two years of highly relevant working experience for college students prior to graduation
  • Attract students, new grads and career changers to view jobs in tech in Indiana as an appealing and viable career option, even compared to the Coasts
  • Retain skilled talent in tech jobs over time

It all started three years ago with this question. “What would it mean to provide the ultimate summer internship experience?” In 2014, we launched a 10-week internship program called Xtern with 50 college students and 12 technology companies in Central Indiana. It was an immense success with both the student and the companies, so we did it again with 108 students and 36 companies in 2015, and we just wrapped up 2016 with 131 students and 49 companies. Before participating in the Xtern program, students were surveyed to understand their sentiment of Indiana and the tech community. Only 22 percent of students said they would live and work in Indianapolis before the program. After Xtern, nearly 70 percent said they would likely choose a career in tech in Indiana.

The IndyX Tech Fellowship was launched in the Fall of 2016 with 21 new grads working at ten  companies for two-year commitments. Building upon the Xtern program, Tech Fellows are similarly immersed in the community to create a relationship with Indiana as their home. These developers, designers and product managers are the top calibre of tech talent from across the nation, and participate in challenging projects that strengthen Indiana’s technology companies from the core. Hear from Tech Fellows Nathan, Alexis and Alex to learn more about why they chose Indy to launch their careers in tech.

As we began to fill the talent pipeline with new grads through solid internships and two-year programs, we shifted our focus on skilling up college students with industry relevant technical experience but who have not yet had on-the-job experience. Xtern Bootcamp was launched in 2016 with 26 college students to provide in-classroom learning and professional development workshops, soft skills training, and to learn how to present their work to clients or internal customers.

While we focused on skilling up and attracting software developers and programmers, we quickly realized there was another growing need in sales and marketing.

“Technology companies need makers, marketers and managers. It’s one thing to have a great product, but you have to be able to sell and market it as well,” said Mike Langellier.

To help fulfill this hiring need, TechPoint launched Sales Bootcamp, a 6-week summer experience designed to provide participants with a first-hand look inside the work environment at several tech companies, and help new grads or career changers quickly ramp up to be high-potential sales people. Eighteen individuals joined the inaugural program and more than half have been hired to start their new careers in tech sales. Watch this short video to learn more about the participants and host companies.

Many of you might be asking — what’s next? Recruitment for the 2017 Xtern, IndyXTech Fellowship and Sales Bootcamp programs is already underway. 

Contact talent@techpoint.org and a member of our college-to-career talent team will be in touch. Follow TechPoint on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and subscribe to TechPoint.org to stay in touch with students and new grads choosing Indy for their tech careers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Croft is the director of communications at TechPoint. She writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people and events. Reach out to Sara @saraelysecroft.