Partnership Designed to Produce “Purple Unicorns”
Within the tech industry, recruiters increasingly express frustration when trying to locate “purple unicorns,” individuals who possess software development skillsets needed for jobs that barely existed until very recently. They are people who seem to exist in theory only. It’s a paradox of sorts. Technology is advancing at an astonishing pace, and job applicants are scrambling just to keep pace.
As one of the world’s largest defense contractors, Raytheon is always in search of individuals with these specialized and high demand skills. It’s a problem that needs to be solved in real-time, to keep up with the pace of evolving technologies. That’s why Raytheon’s AOC program in the Newport News, Virginia, area is turning to academic institutions, like ECPI University, to help develop the talent – “purple unicorns” – to meet their demand, and beyond.
Already a valued partner, Raytheon approached ECPI University to build new curriculum tracks to meet some specific needs. Recently, the company invited ECPI University Dean of Computer and Information Science (CIS) Dr. Keith Morneau and Newport News Campus Director of Academic Affairs Tony Rufi to meet in Washington, D.C. with its top management along with one of Raytheon’s strategic partners.
“We were able to gain a lot of information about the jobs and the (specific skillset) needs for those job roles,” says Dr. Morneau. “ECPI University’s leadership team is working on how we can best incorporate all of these new skillsets, which include Agile/Scrum, Agile/XP, Pair Programming, DevOps, Cloud Foundry, Python, and others, into the program. The latest addition to our CIS program is going to include a new track in Cloud Native Development, which will be one of the first of its kind nationally. The cyber and information security environment is changing to become more Python and PowerShell™ scripting centric with a focus in DevSecOps.”
While Raytheon has been a regular participant in ECPI University career fairs in the Hampton Roads area, it plans to expand its engagement, offering workshops and opportunities for students to learn from and about the company, including sponsoring a hack-a-thon in 2020. What’s more, ECPI University is working on a variety of new initiatives with the company such as recruiting transitional veterans into its programs with Raytheon jobs waiting for them at the end, and formalizing an apprenticeship-like program.
“ECPI is always willing to listen and work collaboratively to help meet our resource needs, whether those are immediate or long term,” says Raytheon Principal Human Resources Generalist April Raines. “ECPI’s accelerated degree programs and five-week terms gives us the ability to continually hire interns and graduates throughout the year.”
Raytheon is also teaming up with ECPI to create a professional development program for its existing employees to learn these new skillsets. “Our goal is to become the school of choice among IT employers,” says Dr. Morneau. “We are thankful for Raytheon’s faith in us to be able to deliver on developing this pipeline together. We look forward to continue deepening our relationship and providing more opportunities for our students and graduates.”