From HBCU to Schwab Technology:
What’s It Like Being a Software Developer Engineer at Schwab?
By Andie Teresi
Among all the advice that is given for college students to prepare for career success, there doesn’t seem to be enough information on the transition from college to “corporate America”. The environment in the classroom and the structure of the projects students work on are sometimes not easily transferrable to the workplace.
Campus to Corporate
An individual who has gone through this transition themselves, coming from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), shares his experience as he navigated the post-college world starting his first job out of school as a Software Developer at Schwab.
Amari V., who has currently been working at Schwab for 3 years as a Software Developer Engineer, explained his passion for technology and the way that North Carolina A&T (his alma mater) has helped him prepare for his transition to the workplace: “I’ve been in North Carolina for an extensive period of time, from middle school to throughout college and I haven’t really left North Carolina at all.” Amari is currently based out of our Austin, TX service center and mentioned how, “being out of the state for this long was kind of challenging, as well as being far away from my family. Working in corporate for the first time, I genuinely feel like my alma mater really prepared me for that. Our career fairs were really large, and I even ran into Schwab a couple of times during the career fairs. It was a big step, but I’m just glad that coming from a HBCU prepared me for that kind of move.”
With the guidance and preparation from his university, Amari began to seek out a career that would let him pursue his passion for technology that he’s fostered since a young age: “Since middle school, I picked up a couple of technology languages and started to write flash games or make something in my TI-84 calculator. That was just the thing I was connected immediately to and I basically started teaching myself and eventually, I majored in computer science.”
Training and Development as a Tech Professional
As a self-taught tech enthusiast, Amari was looking for a company that emphasized continuous innovation and modernization: “With Schwab, everyone is modernizing, and Schwab is one of those corporations that seem to be currently investing in that modernization. They’re welcoming a lot of new faces and a lot of different people from different backgrounds as well into those kinds of positions and I definitely think that stands out. They’re welcoming of a lot of innovation, which I think a lot of tech companies maybe wouldn’t be as open to only because they’re more religious in how they do things throughout different branches.”
To contribute to the innovative spirit Schwab values as a firm, the technology department offers many professional training and development opportunities for technology professionals to grow in their careers. In Amari’s case, he was able to experience and graduate from the NERD program, which is a software engineering program that provides new college graduates personalized onboarding and extensive training and development on technologies to be successful in Schwab Technology Services (STS): “They take you in for a couple of months and that’s an entire process of just training, going through certain classes, exposing you to different sides of Schwab and different tech responsibilities, as well as assigning hands-on tasks, while they’re giving you supplementary learning and exposing you to different technologies that in college, you might not have had.”
A Supportive Work Environment
In addition to the training opportunities Schwab provided him, Amari’s leaders were also there to show him support throughout his career: “My team, in particular, is going through a bit of a transition into kind of fusing my role more closely with other parts of our team. We’re making an effort to work closer together and be less independent and in doing that, I’ve been exposed to work with a plethora of people outside of my specific role and I think that not only does that provide a lot of visibility for everyone, but it allows us to show all of our skills and shine in a number of ways. Those opportunities honestly have seemed to be just rolling in for everyone and the support is really huge.”
When Amari isn’t learning new tech languages, he enjoys working on occasional app development in his spare time, specifically with data mining and machine learning. Even outside of work, Amari gets to hone his skills in tech while hanging out with his friends: “It’s like a hobby of mine that I just continue to do for upkeeping my skills and it’s fun! I do it with friends and a lot of time those projects aren’t even serious, they’re kind of funny. But it’s practice. I also run a nonprofit that’s just a casual Twitch channel (a popular streaming platform) and also do vlogs.”
Why Technology at Schwab?
Whether Amari is running his nonprofit or working on software engineering projects for Schwab, he recommends joining Schwab for a career in financial technology because of the opportunities: “It’s an industry where there’s a lot of room for creativity and as much as people don’t think about the creativity and innovation when it comes to tech, a lot of people just think about the utility of it and how much people need it, but there’s so much room and space for that. If you come in with an innovator or creative mindset, I’d say you should definitely do it and you’re probably going to go very far.”
To learn more about working in FinTech and what it’s like to work at Schwab, visit our Technology page.