Everybody’s career journey is entirely unique. You may have travelled via university or followed a winding road into full-time employment. Maybe you found yourself on a track that involved more practical experience, or maybe you had to take a few unexpected breaks along the way. Whatever your path looked like, it got you where you are today, and we believe that should be celebrated.
We know socio-economic diversity benefits everyone, and we think that everybody who wants to join us should be given a fair chance regardless of education, experience, or background. That’s why, we’ve introduced ‘Create Your Own Path’, a new blog series designed to shine a light on members of our community who took a path less travelled to find us, and to highlight some of the employment initiatives we’re most proud of.
We asked our volunteers what three words they would use to sum up their career journey so far, where they are now, and where they’re headed.
In this instalment, Senior Programme Manager, Gerry Murphy explores his own career journey, his role heading up VMware’s KickStart programme which allows others to start theirs, and how for him, there is no ‘one path’ into the technology industry.
Gerry Murphy, Senior Programme Manager, Global Services, VMware
When asked to sum up my role at VMware in three words I didn’t think it would be possible.
How could I condense a career journey that I have found so rewarding into just three words? How could anyone be succinct about a programme which gives invaluable opportunities to hundreds of unemployed people?
It was tough, but upon hearing that ‘best job ever’ wasn’t suitable, I gave it some more thought, and decided that ‘people’, ‘agility’ and ‘opportunity’ were just as good.
As a Senior Programme Manager in Global Services at VMware, I’m responsible for the KickStart Programme: an initiative which works to get people who are currently unemployed into the tech industry.
My responsibilities include recruiting interns, hiring graduates for Global Services, and liaising with various universities, among other things. To put it simply, a huge part of my role involves dealing with people.
As someone with roughly 20 years of project management experience, this has been the case throughout my career, and it’s often the thing I say I love most about my job – not just the amount of interaction, but the amount of positive interaction.
Myself, and all the other wonderful people involved with KickStart have the opportunity to make a very positive, and very real impact on people every single day.
For a lot of our candidates who find themselves unemployed, without a degree or relevant experience, the chance to get a leg-up into the tech industry is genuinely life-changing, and I’m very proud to be a part of that.
At its core, the KickStart Programme is a full-time course designed for unemployed people in Ireland. It’s a model we’ve been working on since 2010, and though it can be intensive, it’s an opportunity for candidates to soak up best in class training.
Through practical work experience, intensive learning and complete immersion in VMware technology, our students, upon graduating will find themselves at the hiring end of a large multi-national like VMware.
The only pre-requisite of applying to the programme is that you must be currently unemployed. We’re interested in people, not resumes. People with varied life experience, people with non-tech backgrounds, and people without degrees. If you have a willingness to learn, and a good work ethic, you’re the kind of person for us.
There is no one-size- fits-all approach to hiring in IT; and nor should there be.
Agility is a vital part of the process, for the KickStart Programme, and for those looking to start a career in tech in general. The industry is one of the fastest changing industries out there, and us tech professionals are constantly having to adapt and evolve to catch up.
This is where the KickStart programme comes into its own.
We work with modules that can be swapped, replaced or reshuffled depending on the needs of the industry in that moment. If we foresee a particular trend or necessity, we can make sure our students learn about that, then swap it out again as necessary.
It’s also an agile way of hiring by its very nature.
We’re not looking for the most qualified person, or the person with a specific set of pre-existing skills, so naturally our candidate pool is wider. We can focus on picking the person with the spark that makes us think they’re the right fit for the job, rather than picking somebody with a skillset that might well become outdated in the near future anyway.
There’s no doubting the amazing opportunity the KickStart Programme presents. We’ve had some amazing success, and recently we’ve found that 92% of our candidates have ended up in full-time employment since completing the programme.
In a lot of companies, talent acquisition teams can have an almost cookie-cutter approach to hiring technical staff. They’ll ensure that they have a good degree – from a computer science or an IT background – and take it from there.
What we’ve found is that by turning away from this cookie-cutter mould, we’ve been able to pick real superstars. They’re out of this world! So much so, in fact, that they’ve been orbiting outside of the tech universe, and never would have been found had we been looking for a very particular set of experience.
So many of our candidates have gone on to tackle senior roles, with every opportunity to progress further up the VMware ladder. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever done anything as personally and professionally rewarding as this, and I’m very pleased that the steps I took on my own career journey eventually led me to a place where I’m able to act as a guide for others along their way.
Keep an eye out for the next blog in our ‘Create Your Own Path’ series or check out other blogs in the series here. For more information about career opportunities at VMware, head to our careers page.