Dane Brown: Amazon Career Choice 2021

Dane Brown, a 2021 graduate from the Amazon Career Choice Cybersecurity Analytics program, was working as an Amazon Warehouse Associate when he took advantage of the opportunity to pivot into Cybersecurity. 

He shares his winding journey into tech below.

A Collection Of Careers

Dane spent the first decade of his career working in a variety of fields including retail, mental health, security, and nursing home housekeeping. 

“I chose those fields just so I could afford to buy my own stuff, and pay bills,” he said. “But I wanted to do something that paid more and would be fulfilling.”

While unsure of what exactly that field would be, Dane felt drawn toward a career in technology based on an early affinity. 

“I’ve had an obsession with video games and computers since I was 3,” he recalled.  “I’ve always been fascinated by the seemingly limitless applications of tech, the convenience it brings, and how fun it is to learn about.”

It was while working as a Warehouse Associate at Amazon in 2021 that an opportunity to break into the industry presented itself. Dane applied to the Amazon Career Choice Cybersecurity Analytics program and was accepted. 

“I knew that this program would allow me to expand my tech knowledge, challenge myself, and have a new way to help others,” he said. “And I had heard years ago that Flatiron was one of the best tech schools in the industry.”

His Program Experience

The Amazon Career Choice program Dane participated in ran for 32 weeks from February through October. The curriculum was delivered online via live lectures. Students completed about 15 hours a week of classwork while continuing to work full-time. 

“It was challenging ensuring that my assignments were completed on time, and making it to all of the live lectures,” Dane said. “Thankfully my instructors and faculty were patient, kind, and informative, plus my cohort loved helping each other. We never left people behind!”

Despite the time pressures of tackling an education while continuing to work, Dane persevered throughout the course and found that he enjoyed the material.

“My favorite part of the program was learning about a wide range of Computer Science & Cybersecurity concepts [and] engaging my classmates and instructors in the community,” he said. “Also, I loved the System Administration class because I learned how to set up an organization’s computer systems from the ground up!”

Dane graduated from the Amazon Career Choice Cybersecurity Analytics program in October 2021, after completing 480 curriculum hours. 

Jumping Into The Job Search

With his new Cybersecurity skills, Dane began looking for the right opportunity while continuing to work at Amazon. Unfortunately, at first, he had difficulty finding the right fit. 

“My job search was brutal,” he recalled. “Most companies didn’t give me a response or interview when I first started applying for positions.”

But through working with his Career Coach, he refined his strategy and started to make headway.  

“Flatiron has one of the best Career Development and job search programs I’ve ever seen,” he said. “My career coach gave me great pointers on how to refine my resume which set me up for success.”

Reflecting On His Journey

Two years on from his graduation, Dane is working in Cybersecurity and supporting organizations he is passionate about. 

“I’m extremely proud to say that I provided IT/Cybersecurity services on behalf of two organizations – Zinc Collective’s DigiDems, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, which supported the successful elections of Lieutenant Governor-elect Austin Davis, Senator John Fetterman, and Governor-elect Josh Shapiro!”

Looking back at his journey, Dane’s main takeaway from the experience is a positive one.

“Always be kind, and never be afraid to ask for or receive help.”

Dane’s advice for students is similar, emphasizing the importance of kindness and camaraderie. 

“Always carry yourself with humility and grace, think before you speak, and manage your time wisely,” he advised. “Always offer to help others, and don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it. I’m rooting for all of you, so never give up!” 

Flatiron School Retraining Programs

Amazon’s Career Choice offers eligible Amazon employees the opportunity to pivot careers into higher-paying jobs through retraining

The program was created as a way to attract top talent as well as improve employee engagement and retention. 

Following the initial cohort’s success, Amazon again selected Flatiron School to deliver Career Choice programs in 2023

Contact us to learn how a Flatiron School retraining program can attract and retain top talent at your organization.

Why Financial Services Should Invest In Their Employees

Most financial services know that training is important. Whether training is optional or compulsory, most of their employees have gone through at least one course of training. 

The downfall, however, is that many companies consider it as secondary to primary business operations. They think of it as something they just have to do, instead of an opportunity to invest in their employees and the company’s future growth. In reality, training is critical to the profitability and growth of the company.

Here’s why when you invest in your employees, you reap the greatest reward.

Skills Quickly Become Obsolete

The primary reason financial services should invest in regular employee training is that skills are becoming obsolete at a faster rate than ever before. 

Research has found that skills have a “shelf life” of about 5 years. This is cut in half for technical skills, with obsolescence at just 2.5 years. This ever-shortening shelf life of technical skills requires consistent re-skilling to keep employees’ abilities relevant and useful. 

Unfortunately, many companies are already behind. According to McKinsey & Company, 87% of companies worldwide admit to having a skills gap in their workforce or anticipate one in the next few years. These industry-leading organizations are already playing catchup. 

More Jobs But Fewer Workers

Today’s market is highly competitive, with each business endeavoring to develop the next world-changing innovation. These innovations, however, cannot be made by the company itself. They must be made by the bright minds working there. 

As a result, the stakes to attract and retain top talent are high. 

But, due in part to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have become more selective about the jobs they take. Even while companies are expanding their technical departments, they have to work harder to attract top talent to fill open roles. 

Rising Hiring Costs

With a skill gap on teams, and the need to hire more, many companies put more effort into hiring. But, rising hiring costs are putting a limit on the lengths companies can or will go to bring talent in the door. 

The Society for Human Resource Management states that the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, with around 42 days to fill a position. According to Glassdoor, the average company in the United States spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee, taking up to 52 days to fill a position.

In addition, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.

With such high costs associated with bringing in new employees, companies are turning to training to close skills gaps on their team, no hiring required. 

Invest In The Right Training

The benefits of investing in training employees are clear – closed skill gaps, retained workforce, and eliminated hiring costs. 

But, just as important as executing training, is choosing the right provider with programs that will satisfy your business needs. Choose carefully to reap the greatest reward. 

Here’s what to consider when getting started.

Diversify Training

Leading upskilling practices recommend incorporating both digital and soft skills into training to help finance employees influence decision-making. Don’t focus only on growing technical expertise, use training opportunities to grow employees into well-rounded team members. 

Select The Right Provider

When picking a training provider, it’s important to make a decision based on the factors important to your business. This could be specific software or languages offered, schedule flexibility, program length, in-person or remote delivery options, or customization options. 
Picking a provider with a track record of success working with companies like yours can also make the difference between an experience that’s just okay, and one that builds your employees into star performers.

Celebrate Achievement

Most importantly, recognize and celebrate your employees’ educational achievements. Learning something new can be difficult, and recognizing even incremental improvements and celebrating upskilling achievements can add up to big cultural change.

Training Programs Made For Financial Services

When you invest in your employees, you invest in your company too. Why not invest in the best? 

Let Flatiron School modernize your business with industry-tailored training programs in Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software Engineering, and Product Design.

Contact us to get started.
Disclaimer: Information in this blog is current as of January 18, 2023. For more information, visit FlatironSchool.com.

Rocket Software: Building a community of innovation

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.

7 Reasons to Outsource Your Technology Training

The most valuable resource any company has is its employees. No matter how good a product is offered, or how prime a market is, if the right teams are not in place with the correct skills to perform, then all efforts will be in vain. 

For a business to succeed, it must invest in its employees to keep their skills up to date.

When those investments are in the form of technology training, both employees and employers benefit. Workers gain skills that improve their career prospects, and the business gains employees who are knowledgeable in specific areas with the most, and often hardest-to-fill, needs.

Not All Technology Training is Created Equal

Unfortunately, internal training efforts can sometimes miss the mark. 

In a Capgemini and LinkedIn survey, 52% of tech employees said their company’s training programs didn’t help them gain new skills, and 42% went so far as to call them “useless and boring.” 

For technical training to be successful, training must be targeted, specific, and engaging. Developing internal training programs that often miss the mark wastes the time of both the instructors and student employees, leading to frustration on both sides and potentially negatively impacting retention. 

A better alternative is outsourcing employee training to a training institute that specializes in and is an expert at teaching technical skills. For companies unsure of utilizing an outside training provider, here are 7 reasons to consider:

1. Internal experts don’t have the skills or time for training

When you want employees to learn the valuable skills other employees already have, a seemingly obvious solution is to have your expert employees teach their peers. But that’s an option that presents a couple of significant issues.

First, those employees with valuable skills would have to take time away from their primary work to spend time teaching. The days (or more likely, weeks) they spend in developing a training program and implementing it means the time the company is losing that person’s output—the precise work you’ve deemed important enough to teach others. That comes at a high cost.

The second issue is at least as serious — the employee that’s awesome at a particular tech skill is not necessarily awesome at teaching it. Teaching requires an entirely different skill set than data science, cybersecurity, or software engineering. If you take some of your most valuable employees away from their main work to do training and they’re terrible at it, you’ll spend their time, the trainees’ time, and the company’s money, all to end up with nothing to show for it.

2. You can find trainers with the specific expertise you need

Chances are, there are multiple tech skills you want to teach your employees. If you were to try to hire one person full-time to handle your company’s technology training, you’d have a hard time finding someone who has all the different competencies needed to cover all those topics.

By contrast, when you outsource your training to a technical education provider, you can choose the specific types of experts you need to handle each training course or session. And if teaching technology is what they do as their primary job, instructors will have both the teaching skills needed and the specific tech knowledge to upskill employees.

3. Professional tech trainers will have up-to-date knowledge

Part of why providing tech skills training is so important is how fast tech skills go out of date. If a cybersecurity expert you hired five years ago did nothing to learn about new threats, it wouldn’t bode well for your company’s security.

An organization that teaches tech skills professionally will treat it as part of the job to stay on top of the trends and changes in the industry. If you find a good training provider, you won’t have to worry about them teaching your employees information that’s already outdated.

4. A good provider can customize their training to your needs

One of your alternative options for employee technology training is to license pre-created materials to provide your employees. That will cost you less than hiring a skilled instructor to provide the training, but the materials you get will be generic. They may not cover the precise skills you want your employees to gain, and definitely won’t address how putting those skills to use at your company will look. Static materials also can’t respond to the particular learning styles of your employees.

An experienced instructor can work with you to create a training course or session based on your specific needs and make sure the material is tailored to your company. And part of being a good teacher is being able to respond to individual students and provide the personalized attention and instruction they need. You’ll only get that from a trainer that brings teaching skills to the table.

That company has already done the work of hiring and vetting skilled trainers. Your job is simply to find the company you want to hire, interview them to make sure they’re qualified to provide the kind of training you need, then work out the details of your contract. A company that’s well-versed in providing this kind of service will have an onboarding process in place to make getting started easy.

5. The hiring process is simpler

Organizations that focus on tech training have developed teaching materials that they know work because they’ve had time to test them out with students. And if the training you hire them for is similar to courses they’ve taught before, they won’t have to start from scratch in creating training materials. They can pull from what they’ve already created, which can mean getting started faster.

Hiring trainers that teach tech skills professionally as their main job means that you get all the benefits of their experience. Anyone who’s spent years teaching students becomes an expert in figuring out the teaching tactics that work best for different types of learning styles.

6. Tech training experts will have proven tactics and materials

In comparison, hiring a company that offers technology training as a service means you only pay for what you need, whether that’s one session a year or regular courses. Since the teacher in charge of the training is employed by a third-party company, things like taxes and benefits aren’t your responsibility, and you can leverage the programs and trainers only when you need them.

Hiring a full-time employee to handle your technology training means paying for their salary year-round, covering health insurance costs, employee taxes, and benefits like paid time off. It’s not cheap—especially if you want someone good at what they do.

7. Outsourcing can cost (a lot) less than hiring full-time employees

Last but certainly not least, hiring new employees to fill existing skill gaps on your technical teams is expensive. Posting job descriptions, conducting interviews, onboarding costs, and yearly salaries and benefits add up quickly. 

By investing in your current employees, you minimize these additional costs associated with new hires and retain loyal top performers with priceless experience.

Get Started Training Your Employees

If you’re committed to investing in your employees with outsourced technical training, be sure to choose a provider that is experienced in your needed skillsets, and has the results to prove it.

To make sure your employees gain valuable tech skills, hire a company that:

  • Can provide trainers with specialized tech knowledge and teaching skills
  • Utilizes an industry-leading curriculum that teaches relevant and up-to-date skills
  • Can customize training or courses based on organization-specific needs
  • Have proof and results available of successful training and previous partnerships

If you’re wondering where to find a provider that meets all the above criteria, look no further than Flatiron School.

With tech training solutions that cover just about any need – whether that’s upskilling and reskilling existing talent or sourcing and screening brand new candidates – and programs targeted to skills across a variety of technical expertise, Flatiron School has what you need to fill the skill gaps on your teams.

And, when you partner with Flatiron School, you’ll be in good company with industry leaders such as Amazon.

Let Flatiron School help modernize your business with our training and talent services. Let us educate, so you can innovate. 

Get started today. 

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally posted in 2021, and was updated in November 2022. The information in this blog is current as of 23 November 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/

Amazon Career Choice X Flatiron School Partnership

Amazon’s Career Choice program empowers its employees by providing them access to the education and training needed to grow their careers at Amazon and beyond.

In the U.S., the company will invest $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. For this investment, Amazon selected Flatiron School as one of its education partners to develop a customized technical training program for its hourly employees to help them access better-paying, skilled positions in software engineering, cybersecurity, and other tech fields.

The Challenge

Amazon has been rapidly growing its workforce over the past several years to meet increasing demand, hiring hundreds of thousands of front-line employees across the U.S.

As a company, Amazon believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn new skills and build their career. A job with Amazon may be a springboard into a long-term career in another field, so they want to provide the training employees need to grow their careers.

In addition to the coursework and classes, they are focused on outcomes for employees, providing them with support services throughout their education and career journey. They want partners who share this focus on outcomes.

Why Amazon Selected Flatiron School

Since the first cohort in 2021, Flatiron School has offered the technical and instructional expertise, program design experience, job-placement track record, and ability to deliver at the scale that Amazon needed for the Career Choice programs.

This is why Amazon has partnered with Flatiron School to develop curriculum programs across cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, and web development for nine cohorts and counting. 

Amazon’s Challenge

With demand for tech workers soaring, Amazon wanted to offer transformative technical programs, with strong job placement outcomes, as part of Career Choice. Amazon needed a partner with the ability to both teach in-demand technical skills and drive high job placement rates.

Flatiron School’s Solution

Scalable, Customized Courses Paired with A Proven Job-Placement Approach

  1. Flatiron School developed six part-time, customized tech programs for Amazon employees to drive deep technical learning. 
  2. All programs were 32 weeks and provided students with the flexibility to learn new skills…
  3. …while still working full-time, dedicating 12-15 hours per week to the program.

The Results

During the first year of the partnership, 270 Amazon employees from across 38 fulfillment centers used their Career Choice benefits to become Software Engineers and Cybersecurity Analysts.

The Amazon Career Choice program also increased warehouse worker tenure, retention, and employee satisfaction.

The inaugural cohort wrapped up in October 2021. Within less than a week of graduation, two Amazon employees had already landed jobs in tech, with significant increases to their salaries. Because of its success and the benefits they saw with the program, Amazon expanded the program in 2022 and internationally for 2023, enrolling over 800 Amazon Associates each year.

In 2023, 9 cohorts across Amazon Cybersecurity Analytics, Amazon Data Analytics, Amazon Software Development, and Amazon Web Development have been developed.

For more information on the Amazon Career Choice program, visit the program application page.

How Financial Services Prepares For The Holiday Season

With the holidays right around the corner, financial service companies are preparing for a busy shopping season. 

Public trust in the security of digital purchases has had a hand in the boom of online shopping. Consumers are now more likely to visit digital storefronts, instead of brick-and-mortar locations. As of 2022, an estimated 2.14 billion purchase goods online and at least 75% of consumers shop online at least once a month.

With every online transaction, gift purchase, or swipe of a card, financial services are tasked with keeping data secure.

So, with holiday shopping ramping up, what challenges should financial services be prepared to tackle?

Problem #1: How To Prevent Data Breaches?

A data breach can cost millions, tarnish a company’s reputation, and leave customers doubting that their information is safe. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity can feel like an endless game of one-upping bad actors. Even large companies struggle to keep up with digital innovation which has resulted in an ever-increasing number and complexity of cyber attacks. 

In a digital world where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm manual monitoring attempts, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Solution: Invest In Cybersecurity Preparation and Plan Ahead

To tackle the cybersecurity threats attempting to infiltrate your organization, it’s crucial to develop a two-pronged plan – a prevention strategy and a response procedure.

Prevention Strategy

You’ve likely heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment, which is particularly relevant to preventing cybercrime. 

Financial services should reinforce their cyber protocols and ensure that their team is skilled, supplied with appropriate software and platforms, and has the bandwidth necessary to handle the deluge of attacks. This can be accomplished either by outsourcing to third-party providers or investing in internal infrastructure and employees by hiring new employees with up-to-date skills or upskilling your existing workforce. 

Response Procedure

Should bad actors breach your organization’s data stores, it’s vital to have a plan of action in place. 

Shockingly few companies have a solid breach response plan in place, and time wasted scrambling to decide what to do, who has access to what, and which files may have been compromised lets whoever has infiltrated run amock in your system. 

To be fully prepared, financial services should develop, test, and implement an incident response plan to minimize the potential fallout of a breach. 

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Problem #2: How To Reach New Customers?

No matter the industry, product, or company size, the goal is ultimately the same – growth.

But for financial services, a saturated market can make it difficult to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract new customers. Many organizations find themselves pondering as the biggest shopping season ramps up, “how do we stay ahead of the competition and reach new customers who prefer online experiences?”

Solution: Leverage The Power of Data

To attract new customers, financial services can use the data they collect, which we discussed protecting above. 

Invest in Data Scientists who are able to decipher actionable insights from data collected about existing customers and use models to forecast emerging market trends. By making data-backed, research-based decisions, your organization can develop targeted promotions and bring in new customers, all with information you already had on hand.

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Tech Talent Solutions Made For Financial Services

Whether it’s the holiday shopping season or not, financial services have no shortage of challenges: legacy technology, cybercrime, and connecting data across brick-and-mortar and digital products. 

Let Flatiron School help modernize your business with training and talent services across Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software Engineering, and Product Design.

Contact us to get started.

Disclaimer: Information in this blog is current as of November 07, 2022. For more information, visit FlatironSchool.com.

How Retailers Prepare For The Holiday Season

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers are preparing for a busy shopping season. Each year, more consumers are shopping online. As a result, retailers must invest in their digital storefronts, backend security, and supporting software to keep customers coming back.

So, with holiday shopping ramping up, what challenges should retailers be prepared to tackle this year?

Problem #1: How To Prevent Data Breaches?

A data breach can cost millions of dollars, tarnish a company’s reputation, and leave customers with little trust that their information will be kept safe. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity can feel like an endless game of one-upping bad actors, with even large companies struggling to keep up with digital innovation that has resulted in an ever-increasing number and complexity of cyber attacks. 

In a digital world where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm manual monitoring attempts, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Solution: Invest In Cybersecurity Preparation and Plan Ahead

To tackle the cybersecurity threats attempting to infiltrate your organization, it’s crucial to develop a two-pronged plan – a prevention strategy and a response procedure.

Prevention Strategy

You’ve likely heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment, which is particularly relevant to preventing cybercrime. 

Retailers should reinforce their cyber protocols and ensure that their team is skilled, supplied with appropriate software and platforms, and has the bandwidth necessary to handle the deluge of attacks. This can be accomplished either by outsourcing to third-party providers or investing in internal infrastructure and employees by hiring new employees with up-to-date skills or upskilling your existing workforce. 

Response Procedure

Should bad actors breach your organization’s data stores, it’s vital to have a plan of action in place. 

Shockingly few companies have a solid breach response plan in place, and time wasted scrambling to decide what to do, who has access to what, and which files may have been compromised lets whoever has infiltrated run amok in your system. 

To be fully prepared, retailers should develop, test, and implement an incident response plan to minimize the potential fallout of a breach. 

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Problem #2: How To Increase Customer Loyalty?

With the rise of the digital-first era, shoppers are no longer walking into physical stores for their goods. Instead, they are logging onto their computers or opening a mobile app, credit card in hand.

Customer touch points now feature everything from brand-owned mobile apps to traditional website storefronts and social media platforms. Each channel is a chance for retailers’ brand messaging to reinforce customer loyalty.

So, how do retailers elevate the customer experience across all these touchpoints?

Solution: Develop Supportive Software

With so many brand touchpoints across multiple platforms and channels, delivering a seamless, omnichannel experience is key. To achieve this, retailers can invest in software engineering to develop custom retail software. 

Company-specific software creates IT solutions that automate the retail business process, streamlining offerings and product delivery. Everything from sales notification, invoice delivery, shipping, and returns/refunds can be accomplished by one, overarching system. 

That way, no matter where a customer interacts with your brand, they’ll be met with a consistent, pleasant, and easy-to-navigate system they know well. 

Related reading: Top 3 Retail Tech Trends in 2022

Problem #3: How To Quantify Consumer Behavior?

With trends that change at the pace of social media algorithms, it can feel just about impossible to predict trends. What was trendy one moment can be “last season” the next, with product and marketing teams struggling to keep up. 

Many retailers are asking, “how can we quantify customers’ behavior and translate it into sales?”

Solution: Leverage The Power Of Data

To predict consumer behavior and deliver tailored experiences that convert, retailers need simply to harness the power of data. 

Without a doubt, somewhere in every retailer’s system is a mountain of data. This data is generated by customers each time they interact with a brand. Data Scientists use models and machine learning to connect data points from multiple sources and generate actionable insights that can be incorporated into a retailer’s strategy at scale. 

To improve conversion rates, retailers should invest in a team of skilled data scientists – or upskill their current team. Data Scientists can use data-driven insights to create recommendations catered to each customer. That way, they’ll keep them coming back to the company that, somehow, knows them so well.  

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Tech Talent Solutions Made For Retailers

The tech that powers digital shopping is only as effective as the talent behind the scenes. 

For 10 years, Flatiron School has been teaching the tech skills that retailers need most. Let us help accelerate your business with our talent and training solutions.

Contact us today to get started.

Flatiron School Launches 5-Day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program

Flatiron School, a top provider of technical education and talent, has launched its 5-day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program, a comprehensive learning experience designed to equip organizations’ entry-level tech talent with essential cybersecurity skills and the capacity to act as a unit. 

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a fitting acknowledgment of one of today’s top worldwide business concerns. Studies show over 300,000 new pieces of malware are created daily, posing major threats to organizations’ data, security, and reputations. 

To help prevent and protect against these threats, Flatiron School created an accelerated 5-Day Enterprise Cybersecurity program to provide employees with the skills needed to mitigate or avert cybersecurity risks altogether.

Program Overview

The program focuses on solidifying foundational cybersecurity knowledge and providing learning in topics relevant to an organization’s cyber function, thus enabling talent to deliver the most advanced, cutting-edge work products to their organization and end clients.

“Now more than ever, businesses must equip their teams with the expertise needed to prevent and respond to the ever-growing amount of cyber attacks occurring worldwide,” said Nancy Ziser, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Flatiron School. “The goal of this program is to jumpstart learning essential cybersecurity skills for employees responsible for protecting data and minimizing threats to various organizations. We are excited to offer this kind of education to people who are continuously fielding cybersecurity issues on the ground.” 

Program participants receive 40 hours of instruction either remotely or in person over five days. Participants will receive foundational knowledge in:

  • Computer networking, including common network devices and common threats to each layer of the OSI model.
  • Identity and access management (IAM), including knowledge of LDAP and Active Directory (AD).
  • Vulnerabilities and the purpose of red, blue, and purple teams in securing an organization
  • Governance, risk, and compliance, including familiarity with NIST and ISO frameworks.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) security risks.
  • Cloud computing and common security threats to cloud deployments.
  • SIEM tools and logging.
  • Cyber threat intel, including MITRE ATT&CK and the Diamond Mode.

To learn more about Flatiron School’s 5-day Enterprise Cybersecurity Program, please click here.

How Upskilling and Reskilling Saves Your Company Money

Technological advancements like automation, AI, and deep learning are helping companies reduce labor costs. More is getting done in less time. There are significant time savings, greater process efficiency, and cost reduction. 

But, as a side effect, your business may need fewer employees to perform the same work. Efficiency has improved, and there aren’t enough tasks to go around.

Some employees’ skillsets have become outdated and are not up to par with the current level of technology in the company or the world. 

So what to do with the workers that have become obsolete, through no fault of their own? Will you lay off loyal employees with obsolete talents and hire new employees with updated skills? 

While it is feasible to switch out current staff with new ones that have the skills you desire, it is not the most effective. Finding and hiring people is time-consuming, effort-intensive, and costly. 

Upskilling and reskilling obsolete employees, on the other hand, can be a great alternative.

What Is Upskilling and Reskilling?

First, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

Upskilling is the process of adding to an existing skill set within a current role (e.g., training a currently employed software engineer in a new programming language).

Reskilling is the process of learning new skills needed to do an entirely different job (e.g., switching from graphic design to software development). 

As an enterprise, you must constantly update your offerings to stay relevant and gain a competitive edge. Keeping your employee’s training up-to-date and on par with current market offerings is an essential part of the process. 

Approximately 90% of managers and executives who participated in a McKinsey survey1 agreed their organizations either already faced a skills gap or expected gaps by 2024. As per the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 20202, by 2024, approximately 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling to maintain their current employment.

Retraining employees can prepare them for future roles, help streamline business processes, enhance employee productivity, and improve enterprise efficiency.

How Does Upskilling & Reskilling Save Money?

Besides the intangible benefits of boosting employee morale by investing in furthering their careers, upskilling and reskilling offers various other tangible benefits3, including:

Reduce Training and Recruitment Costs

When recruiting employees with a new skill set, you’ll also have to bear associated costs — interviewing, hiring, background checks, onboarding, process training, etc. And, with the current highly competitive job market, employees with niche skills can demand top dollar. 

Retraining your current workforce with new skills can help save on the costs associated with new hires. With upskilling and reskilling, you’ll already have skilled employees trained on your organization’s processes and policies, so they can hit the ground running in their new skill or upgraded role.

Retain Knowledge and Talent

The technological landscape will continue evolving with new tech adopted every few years. But, loyal employees with years or even decades of accumulated knowledge about your company’s product verges on priceless. 

Upskilling and reskilling employees ensure that your company’s offerings keep pace with changing trends while retaining top talent.

Tenured employees at your organization are already aware of your business and processes. The knowledge they’ve gained over the years is valuable. Retraining them will help retain the employees and their expertise within the organization. 

If you don’t upskill or reskill them, they may update their skills themselves and find another employer. You’ll have to look for new talent and bear associated hiring costs to replace them, not to mention the knowledge and experience they take with them. 

An Adaptable, Future-Ready Workforce

Cross-trained employees with diverse knowledge in multiple areas are a significant asset to any organization. 

They offer better insights and can weigh in on multiple areas to enable the business to function more efficiently. With multiple skill sets, upskilled and reskilled employees can be leveraged across projects, teams, and departments. And, having already been retrained once, they can adapt other new technologies as they come. 

How To Upskill and Reskill Your Employees

Flatiron School offers full-time and part-time programs in four different disciplines- Software Engineering, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and Product Design. 

No matter your industry or offering, employee skill gaps in these areas can be addressed and resolved with our program offerings.

Software Engineering

With Flatiron School’s Software Engineering curriculum, employees can be ready to build software for websites and apps. They’ll learn about:

  • Front-end development
  • Front-end web applications
  • Back-end development
  • Back-end web application programming interfaces (APIs)

Data Science

By attending Flatiron School’s Data Science curriculum, employees can master the art of data analysis. They’ll be able to find patterns in data and help the organization make data-driven decisions. They’ll learn:

  • Data analysis and engineering
  • Scientific computing and quantitative methods
  • Machine learning fundamentals
  • Advanced machine learning

Product Design

With Flatiron’s School’s Product Design curriculum, employees learn how users interact with technology and how to improve brand messaging and enhance customer loyalty. They’ll learn about the various processes essential for effective product design:

  • The user experience (UX) process — Ethical and inclusive design, foundational research, and ideation and innovation
  • The user interface (UI) process — Elements of visual composition, typography and color, and interaction and animation
  • Product design framework, usability testing, and UI kit development for developers
  • Micro-interactions, data visualization, and communication

Cybersecurity Engineering

Employees who enroll in Flatiron School’s Cybersecurity Engineering curriculum will become a critical component of your IT security team. They’ll be able to protect the enterprise, client, and employee data from getting stolen, hacked, leaked, or damaged. During the curriculum, employees  will learn about:

  • Network security
  • System security
  • Python scripting techniques
  • Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC)
  • Logs and detection
  • Threat intelligence
  • Application security
  • Applied cryptography

Get Started With Flatiron School

If you’re considering a custom solution to meet your upskilling and reskilling needs, consider the following questions:

  1. Do you need existing talent?
  2. How many leaders will go through the training?
  3. What is your learners’ existing tech skill level?
  4. Which competencies and outcomes would you like to achieve?
  5. What are the desired program modality and delivery structure? (In-person vs. virtual, part-time vs. full-time, start and end dates, etc.)

Flatiron School’s Enterprise team works with your company to identify skills gaps and build a program tailored to your goals. With Flatiron School, your employees will develop in-demand skills to keep your company on the competitive edge and take charge of their careers at the same time. 

To get a custom training solution for your organization, contact Flatiron School today.


  1. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/beyond-hiring-how-companies-are-reskilling-to-address-talent-gaps
  2. https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020/digest#report-nav
  3. https://flatironschool.com/blog/value-of-cross-trained-workers/