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How to build a next-generation IT workforce

With baby boomers on the way out and new generations ready to fill the void, companies are cross-pollinating expertise to fill the talent gap and modernize IT.

How to build a next-generation IT workforce
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Fresh out of Clemson University in 2016 with a degree in computer science, Kirsten Erich accepted an IT position at TIAA, but it wasn’t just any developer role. Erich was among a few dozen newly-minted grads recruited as a TIAA Technical Associate (TA), a rotation program designed to maximize the potential of new hires while ensuring the financial services firm cultivates the right mix of talent to build a next-generation IT workforce.

As part of the program, Erich honed her programming, web development, and business skills in multiple roles in infrastructure and the Office of Technology Innovation and Strategy. She also enjoyed exposure to veteran IT folks and senior leadership, allowing her to soak up their domain expertise and institutional knowledge.

“Throughout the TA Program, I’ve built a network and gained the confidence to interact with and learn from senior leaders all over the firm,” she says, citing one particular experience where she collaborated with a senior infrastructure executive to design a speaker series aimed at training the incoming workforce. “I got to learn more about our products and services, meet leaders from different areas of the firm, and further sharpen my soft skills.”

With baby boomers on the cusp of retirement, IT organizations like TIAA find their talent pipelines at a crossroads. On the one hand, they need to preserve the intellectual capital and legacy systems know-how of long-time IT employees. But they also need to prime the pipeline with a fresh crop of millennial and Gen Z employees hungry to master the skills that are the lifeblood of any modern IT shop, from cloud services and big data analytics to agile development methods.

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