Rocket Software: Building a community of innovation

Rocket Software is on the hunt for Software Engineers and tech talent across many disciplines. The company hired three Flatiron School graduates in 2022, and their new hires have a lot to say about working there.

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Rocket Software is a software development firm that specializes in the creation of custom-tailored IT solutions for infrastructure, data, and applications. 

Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Rocket Software began with humble origins in 1990 – no more than two software engineers in a garage with a dream. Fast forward to 2022, the organization now has more than 2,600 employees globally. 

According to Tara Gallone, VP of Talent at Rocket Software, the company’s commitment to diversity and living its core values is what attracts and retains high-performing employees.

Core Values

When we spoke with Gallone earlier this year, she highlighted the impact of each employee living Rocket Software’s core values.

“Our core values are empathy, humanity, trust, and love. We have a people-first culture where our Rocketeers are cared for, invested in, supported, and find belonging. By offering flexibility, benefits, personal growth opportunities, and deep connections which sets us apart, we are committed to the well-being of Rocketeers. We want our people to be the very best they can be at work and home. These are not just words- this is who we are.”

Commitment To Diversity

With several thousand employees spanning multiple continents, Gallone referenced Rocket Software’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as a key driver of the organization’s success.

“As a global organization, diversity is what makes us thrive. At Rocket, diversity, equity and inclusion are business imperatives. We are committed to providing access to opportunities to everyone, including those who belong to historically excluded groups, a place where each Rocketeer knows that their unique contribution is valued and where you can show up as your authentic self. Diversity provides richness in the experience of our Rocketeers and challenges us to think differently about how to work together and innovate.”

As of mid-2022, Rocket Software has hired three Flatiron School graduates – Jillian Short, Oscar Oré, and Seth Blanchard – each of whom has nothing but good things to say about their experience as “Rocketeers”.

Jillian Short, May 2021 Software Engineering Graduate

Jillian Short’s background is in the arts, and she has a packed resume to prove it. 

“I started in theatre as a stage manager and worked as a production assistant for small film projects and music venues. I was also a barista at a high-end coffee house (we’re talking real coffee pros here), and a bartender for a couple of years. Then I moved into an executive assistant role. I’ve done lots of different things in life.”

But, like many others – particularly those whose livelihood depended on the arts – Jillian’s varied sources of income dried up. 

“When the pandemic hit, live events weren’t happening, and my executive assistant job was wearing on me pretty intensely. I took a trip with my partner to visit his family, and his sibling recommended giving coding a try.”

She dipped her toes into coding with some online courses, then committed to Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program, citing the desire to pursue something that was both meaningful and profitable. 

“The hope was to find a remote job that was more fulfilling, paid what I knew I was worth making and had more security (30 is right around the corner and I’d love to buy a house and be able to retire someday!)”

Her Experience Working At Rocket Software

Jillian was hired as an Associate Customer Solutions Engineer at Rocket Software in June 2022. When asked how she was liking it, she had only good things to report.

“I love [working at Rocket]! I love the team I’m on, being able to work remotely, and the learning opportunities. It’s been a great transition and I couldn’t be more grateful that I found some courage and just went for it.”

As for the reality of working as a software engineer, the day-to-day has been better than the dream.

“[Software engineering is] way more fun than I thought it would be, honestly. I have a handful of friends who work as engineers in varying capacities, and they also loved their jobs, but I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same way. I’m happy to report that it’s been two months and I’m still having a great time.”

As to what she’s working on, Jillian couldn’t share too many details, except for the fact that it was engaging and fulfilling – just as she’d hoped it would be when she began her software engineering journey with Flatiron School.

“The project I get to work on at Rocket is pretty incredible when I think about everything it does. I’m not allowed to give away the details, but the tool we use for our coding always presents interesting challenges and keeps me on my toes! The great thing about it is it isn’t like any open-source language out there. It’s kind of like working in our own little world. Although I do miss the ability to turn to Google for help!”

Advice For Current Students

Looking back on her experience at Flatiron School now that she’s in industry, Jillian had specific advice for other students looking to follow her path. 

“Pair program all the time. Talk through your code always. I’m terrible at talking through code and it’s because I didn’t say what I was doing out loud enough. Network more than you think you need to. In the end, that’s probably what will give you the job.”

Jillian also struggled with imposter syndrome while at Flatiron School and in the early months at Rocket Software. But, she advised, it’s important to push through those feelings and trust in your abilities. 

“I struggled with imposter syndrome endlessly while I was attending Flatiron, and especially when I started my job search. I never felt like I could really be good enough to do this professionally, but here I am!”

Oscar Oré, 2021 Software Engineering Graduate

Oscar Oré has held tech-adjacent positions across several industries, but a life-long interest in tech eventually brought him to Flatiron School. 

“Before I attended Flatiron, I was a Sales rep. I was involved in many industries from Manufacturing to tech. I always had an interest in tech and it was when I worked for an IT reseller that sparked my curiosity to learn how to code. I did a ton of research before I joined Flatiron. After a ton of positive reviews and outcomes, I decided to enroll in the program. What I wanted to accomplish after my time in Flatiron was to land a programming role in Tech!” 

His Experience Working At Rocket Software

Oscar graduated in 2021 and was hired as an Associate Customer Solutions Engineer at Rocket Software in February 2022. Since joining the company, he’s enjoyed his experience and hopes to grow with Rocket Software.

“I love working for Rocket Software! During my job search, I wanted to choose a company that truly cared about my career growth, and I felt that since day one as a Rocketeer!”

As for transferring from sales into a technical role, the skills Oscar developed in previous positions have not gone to waste. 

“[Working at Rocket Software] has been a dream come true! One thing that has stood out to me is how the soft skills that I learned in my previous career have helped me in my current role. Communication is key when you are working on a team!” 

Oscar’s decision to join Rocket Software was influenced by his desire for career growth, and his projects there have allowed him to develop new skills. 

“In my time at Rocket Software, I have been assigned to two ongoing projects for one of our clients involving their mainframes and process automation. The experience has been great and I have gained a ton of knowledge from these projects!”

Advice For Current Students

Oscar’s advice to his past self on his new role is one of optimism and excitement. 

“Remain curious in your new role! You can always learn something new to add to your technical skills and will probably be introduced to something completely new. Embrace the challenge!”

His advice for current Flatiron School students, is similarly uplifting and encouraging, with a reminder to treat the job search like a job.

“Network as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Believe in yourself and remember to keep learning. Reach out to other Flatiron Alumni to see how they are liking their role, and how they approached their job hunt!”

Seth Blanchard, August 2021 Software Engineering Graduate

Before attending Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program, Seth Blanchard spent more than a decade in social services. 

“I have a background in Social Work and spent the bulk of the last 15 years working for myself.  I contracted with various local social services agencies within central VA and the focus of my efforts was working with families to locate employment, housing, benefits, transportation, daycare, etc.”

Unfortunately, his self-employed career was severely impacted by the pandemic. With contracts drying up, Seth decided to pivot his career toward tech.

“I have always had an affinity for building things and gravitated towards software development. When work slowed, I felt it was a great time to make a change. I chose Flatiron because it had a good reputation. I hoped to get the development skills as well as a [certificate] which I felt would increase my chance of success in a total career switch.” 

His Experience Working At Rocket Software

Seth graduated from Flatiron School in August 2021 and was hired as an
Associate Customer Solutions Engineer at Rocket Software in February 2022. Since being hired, Seth has enjoyed his new position and the opportunities it brings.

“I am working with mainframes, particularly the IBMz and process automation, which is not something I had anticipated. The work is quite different from current trends in software development, but I have enjoyed the challenge.”

Advice For Current Students

Seth’s advice for other Flatiron School students approaching the job search is practical and realistic.

“Start the informal job search earlier than you think you should. That part can take a while and having a certification isn’t necessarily an automatic door-opener. You will have to do a great deal of work to differentiate yourself.”

Why Does Rocket Software Hire Flatiron School Graduates?

Since hiring three Flatiron School graduates in early 2022, Rocket Software is eager to hire more. 

“The graduates have real-world work experience and are coming in with some professional skills,” Tara Gallone, VP of Talent, explained. “Also, Flatiron has a diverse student population which is important to [us].”

Why Should Students Look To Rocket Software As A Great Place To Work?

Rocket Software received a “Great Place To Work” certification in June 2022, and hopes to attract more students from Flatiron School with their commitment to employee growth. 

“At Rocket, growth and innovation are central to all we do. That’s why we give Rocketeers ample opportunity to pursue the next big idea, even if it doesn’t fall within their job description.”

The company also has additional opportunities, outside of normal day-to-day operations, for employees to build their skills.

“‘The annual Rocket Build hackathon allows Rocketeers to go beyond the day-to-day and challenge themselves to create solutions that improve our world. What started as a small internal hackathon has grown to include Rocketeers and our entire customer, partner, and student ecosystem.”

Interested In Working At Rocket Software?

Rocket Software has employment opportunities in Engineering, Product Management, Marketing, Sales, Test Automation, and Technical Support. 

For more information, visit the Rocket Software career site to see current openings and apply.

About Rocket Software

Rocket Software partners with the largest Fortune 1000 organizations to solve their most complex IT challenges across Applications, Data, and Infrastructure. Rocket Software brings customers from where they are in their modernization journey to where they want to be by architecting innovative solutions that deliver next-generation experiences. Over 10 million global IT and business professionals trust Rocket Software to deliver solutions that improve responsiveness to change and optimize workloads. Rocket Software enables organizations to modernize in place with a hybrid cloud strategy to protect investment, decrease risk and reduce time to value.

Posted by Anna Johnson  /  December 7, 2022