An innovative development program for new college graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is securing high tech talent for the future.
LEAP Tech just promoted its first class of recruits into full-time positions within the bank, in a variety of positions ranging from cybersecurity to software development. The nine inaugural participants first learned about the business of banking, and then had the opportunity to ‘test-drive’ several different careers within the tech sector of BBVA USA to find the best fit for their skill sets and education. While their backgrounds are different, participants interviewed for this story had one thing in common: they didn’t expect to end up working at a bank.
Nguyen: Starting with the tour of the Brock Building, it shattered my misconceptions of corporate America.
“I was expecting to be at a technical company or a branch of the federal government, or a government contractor. But I went into this experience with an open mind. Starting with the tour of the Brock Building, it shattered my misconceptions of corporate America,” said Victor Nguyen, a recent graduate of the University of Texas – Dallas. Nguyen is now working as a front end developer.
Nguyen’s sentiments were echoed by Alexis Robinson, an Alabama native who graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in management information systems.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do as a career. I knew I didn’t want to be a developer, and I was very interested in cybersecurity,” Robinson said.
She landed a position in the cybersecurity area. “I work with a great team and am learning from them, as well as taking advantage of the robust opportunities for professional development.”
LEAP Tech is an outgrowth of the LEAP (learning, evaluation, application, placement) program at the bank, which is entering its tenth year. Career Foundations Program Manager Lauren Finch said the hiring landscape for young tech talent is incredibly competitive, and LEAP Tech takes only the best of the best.
“Applicants go through a three-step process consisting of an initial interview, testing, and then a two-day interview in which they talk with potential hiring managers, engineering managers, and other bank leaders. From there, we select LEAP Tech associates for that year,” she explained.
The six month program offers an education in the bank’s workings and business lines, followed by six-week rotations in the different technological specialty areas. At the conclusion of the program, the associates are placed into open positions within the organization.
Nguyen and Robinson say their experiences have been rewarding, and eye-opening.
Robinson: I never imagined this entire building of tech professionals, and I also didn’t think I could work at a bank and not wear a suit.
Robinson smiles, thinking about her first impressions. “I never imagined this entire building of tech professionals, and I also didn’t think I could work at a bank and not wear a suit,” she laughs.
LEAP Tech participants for 2019 have already been selected; click here for information about applying for future cycles.
To explore U.S. career opportunities at BBVA, click here.
Click here to read more articles and stories about the bank’s employees, culture and workplace efforts.
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