Written by Claire Podulka, Project Manager, Table XI Partners LLC

As part of the 2017 Techweek Gives campaign, Table XI was pleased to welcome 20 students from Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Chicago on June 2 to talk about what it’s like to work in tech and how all kinds of career paths can lead to tech jobs.

During the visit, students toured Table XI’s office and then, over tacos prepared by Table XI’s in-house chef, met with several members of the Table XI team to discuss their career journeys. Development Lead Dr. Noel Rappin shared how the communication and critical thinking skills he learned doing theater and studying liberal arts help him in consulting. Meara Charnetzki, a web developer, explained how moving from a biology lab to a dev boot camp gave her the same opportunity to solve big problems but without the extended timelines of academia. And Devops Lead Lloyd Philbrook talked about how his entrepreneurial spirit (he started designing websites for friends’ parents as a teenager) led him to a globe-trotting life of freelancing and then consulting.

After lunch, students broke up into small groups to rotate among Table XI’s different practice groups: UX design, web, mobile, project/product management, and sales/marketing. CEO Mark Rickmeier fielded students’ questions about internships and first jobs and encouraged them to learn from all of their experiences, even if those experiences weren’t in the field they ultimately decided to pursue. The students were especially interested to learn about mobile developer Quinn Stephens’s work developing video games, something many of them wanted to explore.

At Table XI, we pride ourselves on a lifelong dedication to learning, both because we’re curious people and because our industry is constantly changing. The bright and motivated students from Sarah Goode are inspirational models of our core value to “Grow passionately.” Despite still being in high school, these young people are already working toward and earning associate’s degrees. They actively pursue opportunities in fields of interest ranging from programming to health care to marketing. We were thrilled to be part of their education, and we hope their visit to Table XI sparked some new interests for them.

Table XI is grateful to Techweek Gives and Lumity for arranging the students’ visit and allowing us to share some of our insights and experiences with the next generation.