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Each year, The Stride Center in Oakland prepares graduates to succeed in technology careers with classes in security, hardware, networking, and computer operating systems. Many of those graduates earn valuable certifications and work across the San Francisco Bay Area.

This past February a new group was preparing to graduate, and The Stride Center invited Intivix partner Rob Schenk to give the commencement address to those graduates and their loved ones.

“It was an honor to speak at Stride, an organization that we believe in as a company and partner with to help develop local technical talent. We look forward to expanding this great relationship in the future,” Rob says.

The Stride Center is a non-profit social venture that aims to offer technical, life, professional, and career skills to men and women who face barriers to employment. Stride also looks for ways to give their students and graduates access to careers in technology.

Intivix is proud to employ two Stride graduates.

Technology GraduateTechnology is All Around Us

The Bill Gates quote “We are changing the world with technology” framed Rob’s introductory comments, which were designed to inspire the graduates and show them just how wide open their opportunities are in the technology industry.

Rob explained that technology surrounds us every day, from mobile devices to medicine to shopping. That immersion is growing exponentially, providing us all with opportunities in automation, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and Cloud infrastructure.

Four Areas of Focus

Based on his experience in the early days of the computer industry – floppy drives, anyone? – and in launching Intivix, Rob suggested that there are four areas for each graduate to focus on to maximize their success:

  1. Automation: many businesses are looking for people who can take a manual task, automate it, and then make the workflows repeatable.
  2. Process: building and perfecting repeatable processes allows companies to scale, which is a desirable skill
  3. Understanding the foundations of the Internet: understanding how data flows from one place to another provides the graduate with the base knowledge of how networks work.
  4. Business Savvy: learn how to bridge the communication gap often found between business leaders and technologists. Develop an understanding of business basics along with furthering your technology education.

Making Career STRIDES

In addition to those four, the soft skills of humility (being curious and open), hungry (always learn), and smarts (look at relationships and opportunities and for ways to bring them together) are vital for an ongoing successful career.

“If you’re able to do those things,” Rob said, “you’ll be a great team player, which is what employers are looking for these days.”

Utilizing the Beginner’s Mind

Rob is an active practitioner of Aikido, a martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba, which inspires his life and business philosophy.

He spoke about incorporating the concept of Shoshin, or Beginner’s mind, in life and at work.

“No matter how far you advance up the corporate ladder, no matter how deeply you under

Stride event

stand a skill or if you become an expert in technology, it’s important to keep fresh eyes and openness, and to leave your ego at the door every day,” Rob said.

“If you’re able to add this to your mix it will set you apart even further,” he added.

Ingredients of Career Success

The components of career success, Rob closed with, ultimately come down to:

  • Knowledge: keeping up with current trends and technologies
  • Soft Skills: continuous communication, stay humble, be hungry, develop smarts and recognize interrelationships
  • Mindset: maintain Shoshin (Beginner’s Mind) and drop the ego

“Add all of these things together, and you can write your own ticket,” he said before sitting down.

Stride Event

The event wrapped up as executive members of The Stride Center handed out certifications and awards to a great group of people. We hope to see them all succeeding in our industry for years to come.