Entering the Workforce as an IT Trainee
For recent college graduates, it can be tough to find a first job. “Entry level” positions often require several years of experience in a field, and an internship may not be financially feasible when you are no longer a full–time student.
That’s how Lee felt after graduating with a degree in Computing and Informatics, with no internships on his resume. His bachelor’s program had given him experience with general information technology principles, coding, IT security, and networking tools. He was eager to get on the job. But it was tough to find companies hiring for his level of experience.
With a recommendation from a family member, Lee secured a position in NJM’s IT Trainee Development program.
As an IT Trainee, Lee worked within different departments, learning skills and meeting leaders throughout NJM. He had different assignments depending on the department’s needs. That variety allowed him to explore the possible disciplines within the field and identify the areas he wanted to pursue professionally.
“The rotational training program allowed me to learn about and test out different opportunities that I never knew existed,” Lee said. “I learned more in my first month here than I did throughout my college experience.”
After seven months in the rotation, Lee chose his preferred department for permanent placement. Luckily, there was an opening available, and he became a trainee within Quality Assurance for Personal Lines applications. In this role, he helps to test the NJM’s online quoting and Manage Your Policy applications to ensure that there are no bugs, errors, or defects.
“My experience in the IT Trainee program has been excellent,” Lee said. “It was like having an internship, but I knew a permanent position was on the other side. Plus, the program includes a lot of professional development to give me a strong basis within insurance, information technology, and developing a professional network.” In fact, the IT Trainee program includes several initiatives to support employees’ growth. For example:
By gaining experiences in multiple departments throughout the company, Lee has met and developed professional relationships with a larger network of people. His connections can provide advice and assistance if needed — and Lee can offer his support, too.
Lee was assigned a formal mentor who can provide career advice and answer questions that fall outside of his daily job responsibilities. They have scheduled, one–on–one meetings every week for nine months. “My mentor has been a tremendous resource,” he said, “helping guide me in my career choices and in understanding how to network better.”
All IT trainees take an introduction to insurance course to give them a background in the industry. While on the job, they learn the processes and skills needed to support NJM’s infrastructure and applications. The rotation gives them a greater understanding of how NJM’s systems interact.
Access to Tuition Assistance
After a year working at NJM, Lee will be able to access tuition assistance. His experience at NJM has inspired him to pursue further personal development options. He is thinking of enrolling in school part-time to strengthen his technical knowledge.
Most IT trainees remain with NJM after completing the program. They provide essential support for each of the programs used within the company.
“I had an interest in software development coming out of school, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my tech degree,” Lee said. “For someone without history in an industry, a trainee program is one of the best experiences for learning how a company functions and what the real work is going to be like.”
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