We Started From a Google Jamboard Now We Here!
Successfully Completing Strategio’s First Simulator
I cannot help but think of Drake’s song Started From the Bottom when I think about building out Strategio’s Simulator. In fact, I am listening to this as I write. Picture this: Two passionate people who wanted to fulfill a goal to build a community of technologists, dedicated to the purpose of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion for underrepresented and underserved groups, within enterprise IT on a Google Meet using a Google Jamboard designing IT and Career Development training that would shift Enterprise IT Skills left. These two people were Conor Delanbanque, CEO/Founder of Strategio, and employee #1, you guessed ME! This was the birth of Strategio’s Simulator.
Great solutions have often been drawn out on a napkin. YES, I have done that before. I know this is resonating with some folks please don’t leave me out here by myself lol! Our napkin was a Google Jamboard (Note to self: We need to create a Non-fungible Token (NFT) for this). For two days we met and discussed what we wanted in the Simulator. We even were intentional with the name Technologists.
We knew we wanted the following in the Simulator:
- Scalability and Accessibility: We ditched the presentations and opted to use documents. Our Simulator is on-demand to meet the needs of our Technologists.
- Shift Enterprise IT Skills Left: There is a skills gap between leaving University and entering the workforce. Our Simulator fills this gap by working on real-world solutions.
- Adopt a Why, How, and What concept: This is the methodology we use in our Simulator to understand technical concepts, background, and Purpose (Why), Enterprise adoption strategies, tools, and use cases (How), and obtaining hands-On experience with the technical concepts via tasks and creating an information library to revisit the technical concept (What)
- Vetted By Industry Leaders: The Simulator has the stamp of approval from various industry leaders as providing the skills needed to work in an Enterprise.
The end result of successfully completing the Strategio Simulator would be well-rounded and technology agnostic problem solvers equipped with a cross-functional skillset to obtain roles in Cloud/DevOps, Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET), Full-Stack Development, and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).
On Monday, February 28, 2022, after 8 weeks of completing the Strategio Simulator, 12 Technologists and the Strategio Internal team celebrated with a Go Ceremony (coined and produced by one of the Technologists Keith (Ohz) Baskerville). Go meaning now that you have been equipped it is time to Go use those skills to start a career path in tech that will transform the world!
Using the technical and interpersonal skills gained in the Simulator, each team had 30 minutes to use storytelling to discuss an application they created or modified, share architectural diagrams, and build and demo a pipeline for deploying the application. Each member of the team had to present. We called this End to End Application (E2E App). I was so proud and impressed with how much each of them has grown over the 8 weeks. The details and effort didn’t go unnoticed. After the presentations, we gave out certifications (Designed by Nathalia Delima, Strategio Brand Marketing Manager) and partied to the Glow, Grow, and Go Playlist of Ohz! What was also really nice was Ohz’s idea of incorporating Slack by having each person receive individual positive feedback (Glow) and continuous improvement (Grow). I just loved how these Technologists became a team that cared and collaborated with each other!
On Thursday, March 3, 2022, I had the pleasure of running a Simulator One Restrospective with the Strategio Internal Team. Once again it started with a Google Jamboard (no I am not a paid sponsor for Google but holla at me Google if you want to throw some coins and discounted software that I can catch lol). I shared with them the feedback from the Technologists and then we began to discuss our thoughts on what went well, what we can do better, ideas, and actions.
Here are a few things that went well:
- Building a Community: This community is a safe place for us to grow, share, and learn from one another. We used Slack (Salesforce OK if you too want to throw some coins or discounted software, I am catching) to achieve this. We were intentional about creating channels that reflected Strategio’s values, such as share-knowledge, cultural-exchange where we learned about each other’s diverse backgrounds, and shine where celebrated special moments in our lives.
- Enjoyed Theory before hands-On: This was our purposeful planning with the Why, How, and What.
- Guest Speakers: We had tech leaders from various industries speak to our technologists about their career paths and various technologies.
- E2E App: We were able to see the well-rounded and technology agnostic problem solvers equipped with a cross-functional skillset in action
Now we all know that we can plan to the best of our ability but things fall through the cracks. Here are a few things we can do better:
- Revisit the number of tasks given in one day and allotted timeframes for completion: We are in the process of reviewing this and finding a balance because we have 8 weeks to expose our Technologists to technical and Interpersonal skills in concepts and tools of the DevOps Lifecycle.
- Get the Technologists in teams earlier: I waited until around week 5 or 6 to introduce teams. I was purposeful because I wanted to feel out personalities. Simulator 2 and beyond, we coming out the gate in teams so stay ready!
- Begin Interview prep earlier: We started doing interview prep around week 4 or 5. I wanted the Technologists to have some exposure to the technology. Simulator 2 and beyond, we coming out the gate with interview prep so stay ready!
This was my first time running this and I learned so much. One thing I will do better with is time management. These eight weeks flew by! I have to ensure that I make time for creativity and refueling. I like to use play with purpose to spark creativity. Stepping away from the computer and trying something new or re-engaging in a favorite pastime helps to spark my creativity. In Simulator 1, it was roller skating and bowling. I have to think of something for Simulator 2 and beyond. I am an introvert with extrovert moments. I get drained from being around a lot of people and activities. During my refueling time, I like to be alone and reflect.
We are still celebrating this milestone in Strategio’s 6-month history! I am so grateful that Conor Delanbanque entrusted me with this role. I am looking forward to Simulator 2 and beyond!
I am going to be posting a series of blogs on first-time Leadership over the coming weeks. Please follow to share in this journey!
Remember: SHARING KNOWING is EMPOWERING and KEEP LEARNING!