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An Inside Look of Hopeworks’ Career Day at EPAM

Dan Rhoton

Executive Director, Hopeworks ‘N Camden

“Going to EPAM was amazing. I really really enjoyed the experience and the workflow we were exposed to. I am really happy I took advantage of the opportunity and joined the event despite the thought of feeling underdressed. The event showed me how I can use my artistic side as a designer and incorporate it with tech. I didn’t know there was a place for me in tech!”

-- Anthony, Hopeworks intern

Anthony, one of a dozen Camden students who visited EPAM’s Conshohocken office in June, represents, in many ways, the future of tech.  Young, artistic, and looking for opportunity, Anthony never thought of tech as a career. Tech, he figured, was for “nerds,” science-types, or people who liked math. Anthony is an artist, but also a young man looking to make a sustainable living.  Traditional art was satisfying, but hard to support himself or his family. Anthony knew that coding could lead to a great career, but coding was not how he wanted to make his living.

One visit to EPAM showed him another option.

By taking the time to not just talk about career opportunities in tech, but by exposing Anthony to people who actually work in tech, the employees at EPAM showed Anthony the human side of technology. Tech and careers in IT are not just rows of people staring at a monitor, but artists, salespeople, project managers, marketers, and so many others working together to deliver exceptional products and services.  

Technology is a field with many opportunities for people with different skills and talents -- perhaps even for Anthony. To learn that, however, it took more than a workshop, a white paper, or a speech about all the opportunities in tech. To truly believe that there was a place for him in tech, Anthony had to see where he might sit. To see that, Anthony didn’t have to learn about tech. He had to meet the people who make tech happen.

If we want more young people in tech, particularly youth who are not “typical” techies, we need to do more than tell them about the opportunities. We need to show them the people that make technology come to life, and show our young people where their personalities and unique talents can fit in.

EPAM did that with a simple office visit and tour. What else could we do?

Through its corporate social responsibility initiatives, EPAM works with local organizations to expand the tech education of young people. In June, EPAM hosted youth from Hopeworks ‘N Camden to discuss possible career opportunities in technology. The students, currently enrolled in technology courses as part of Hopeworks’ Day Training Program, heard from EPAM employees about how the skills they are learning can be applied in different roles at a global technology company.

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