Think back to your school days. I bet you can recall someone who shaped the course of your life. Maybe it was a teacher who inspired you to learn a foreign language and travel to new countries. Or a volunteer organization that helped you find your path. For me, those special people were my French teacher and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

SHPE is a non-profit group dedicated to “changing lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development.” SHPE’s mission statement did, in fact, change my life and became my reality. The group shaped the course of my college studies, helped me stay focused, provided me with coaching and mentoring resources, and, through their leadership development opportunities, taught me the necessary skills to become an engineering leader.

Keeping Up with Rapid Change

One area SHPE emphasizes most is the need for continuous learning to keep up with the rapid pace of engineering progress. This is nowhere more apparent than in Citrix’s product migration to the cloud. This evolution has necessitated a paradigm shift in the way engineers deliver software for an environment that must guarantee no downtime, that has unpredictable peak demands and over which we have little control.

The deployment, monitoring, recovery and fault-tolerant tools and methodologies necessary to provide our services are new or are still being developed. Citrix engineers must cope with these deficiencies by developing their own resiliency and data analysis tools to provide our customers with the promised services. In short, we are breaking new ground and growing a new skillset different from what was previously used for on-premises products.

While cloud technologies have been around for years, college curriculums have been slow to incorporate research and training on these new programming platforms. The Citrix executive team and hiring managers realized that we need to take an active approach in closing the gap in the skills we need versus what universities are providing.

A Skills Gap

We have not been alone in noticing a technical skills deficiency.

Recently, Microsoft announced a partnership with five universities to “help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow with in-demand technologies in fields like artificial intelligence, computer science, cybersecurity and data science.”

That’s why, Juan Rivera, Senior VP of Cloud and Server Engineering, kicked off the Engineering-University Relations initiative last July. In addition to increasing recognition of Citrix’s brand on college campuses, its primary goal is to prepare students for the technologies that Citrix will need in the next few years. Since then, Citrix has invested time and money into bringing about this change:

  • Recent graduates and interns in the United Kingdom visited eight universities to highlight the latest Citrix technologies with hands-on demos.
  • The engineering team in Raleigh, North Carolina, sponsored a hackathon with North Carolina State University to provide students with coding opportunities using cutting-edge techniques.
  • We hosted a pre-placement workshop in Bangalore, India, that was attended by 250 students to help them sharpen their resumés and interview skills and prepare for coding exams. This was in addition to tech talks on IoT technology, trends, and avenues for research and innovation to stimulate ideas in this field.
  • In Patras, Greece, Citrix sponsored two university labs and provided them with Citrix software and training, which allowed students to understand the power of virtualization.
  • Citrix engineers held multiple training sessions at local universities in Nanjing, China, to teach current virtualization and cloud technologies, as well as, to provide insights into the future of cloud computing.
  • Citrix sponsored the SHPE leadership conference (pictured below) in Miami, Florida, where last April I taught two workshops on building high-performance teams capable of tackling the fast changes of a cloud world.

These global engagements are proof of our commitment to developing the next generation of engineering leaders. For example, in sponsoring the SHPE conference, we made personal connections with individual chapter leaders at 10 local universities. These chapters are willing to host Citrix at their campuses so we can provide additional training and guidance to students. Much like I received guidance 32 years ago that led me to a career in computer programming, we now have the same chance to help shape the careers of future engineering leaders.

Want to learn more about how Citrix connects with the next generation of engineering leaders and the opportunities we have for interns and recent graduates? Check out our University Recruiting page.