If the attendees at the 2015 #HackingEDU event in San Mateo, CA (October 23-25) have a common trait, it’s passion about education and technology, heavy emphasis being on the technology aspect. Sitting at long tables in uncomfortable folding chairs, consuming mass quantities of energy drinks, water, snacks, candy, with eclectic music tracks playing, over a 36 hour hackathon, their attention is focused on using technology to creatively solve a problem. One thing is abundantly clear when talking with several of the participants: diversity in the technology field transcends common groupings (e.g., gender, race, Mac vs. PC).
Diversity for Target is more than a buzzword, it’s part of who we are and how we operate every day. Diversity is important to us because, like the Guests we serve, we’re an incredibly diverse group with offices and team members that span the globe (from our HQ locations in Minnesota and India to remote offices across 6 continents (sorry Antarctica)). For us, the goal is to be exclusively inclusive.
So how was this commitment to diversity manifested at the #HackingEDU event?
• Diversity in Degrees: Early Friday night a student approached the Target booth asking about job opportunities. Her one concern was if her degree in neuroscience would be as limiting of a factor in Target technology as it seemed to be with other companies she was talking with. E.B. Hakkinen, the microbiologist staffing the booth and who is currently working on Target’s cloud engineering team, assured her it wouldn’t be a problem. Discovering your passion late in your college career is hardly unusual. If you have the proven ability to learn, work hard and #DO awesome, you’ve got what it takes to have a career at Target.
• Diversity in Desired Opportunities: Not everyone was interested in talking full-time, post-college careers (at least not yet) and some were. The great thing was being able to talk about some of Target’s great programs: Summer Internships and the Technology Leadership Program. Both provide participants with the opportunity to work as part of a team creating technology solutions for a Fortune 50 enterprise that can change how people shop, connect and reach their full potential. Both can lead to full-time job offers based on performance and program completion.
Sponsoring events like #HackingEDU and Grace Hopper are examples of Target’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and education.
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