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Corporate | October 06, 2021

Freddie Mac's FinTEC Program is Leading the Race to Convert Mid-Careers into Tech Jobs

Frank Nazzaro
By
Frank Nazzaro, EVP, Enterprise Operations & Technology

Among the largest job categories at Freddie Mac, one of the world’s largest financial services companies, is technologist. That’s true for many large financial companies, from credit card companies to storied investment banks. We fiercely compete with those firms for a limited pool of talent.

But what if we didn't? Or at least, not so much. What if we looked to further diversify our talent pool by supplementing our selective program for attracting new college graduates in technology fields with a program that upskills mid-career professionals, including more minorities, more women and veterans from outside the technology space?

That was the idea behind the creation of Freddie Mac's Fellows in Technology, End User, and Cyber (FinTEC) program. FinTEC is a mid-career transition program for professionals who may have taken a break to care for family, serve in the military, or who always wanted to work in technology, but never had the opportunity. 

FinTEC is designed to enable these professionals to jump into technology careers—including management opportunities appropriate to their life and work experience—without the benefit of a traditional education in computer science, engineering or data management. The 18-month professional rotation program mixes classroom work with career-based immersion in End User Technology, Infrastructure, and Cyber career tracks.

More than 700 applicants with a diversity of skills and backgrounds threw their hat in the ring when we opened the recruitment process earlier this year. We received resumes from people in education, engineering, government, finance, hospitality, law enforcement, and oil and gas.

The overwhelming response offered us the opportunity to sift through those applicants to select individuals with the highest potential and core competencies or skills that make them stand out as professionals. We narrowed the field by emphasizing:

  • Transferable skills such as problem solving, analytical reasoning, critical thinking, adaptability, teamwork, and communications that come not just from paid work, but from volunteering, internships and freelance jobs; and 
  • Personal attributes, such as listening, curiosity and punctuality, that dictate whether or not you succeed at work; 
  • Performance in situational-based interview questions to see who could think on their feet about common challenges and grasp essential concepts. 

The first cohort of 12 fellows started in June. Among other professionals, the cohort includes teachers, police officers, marketers, and military veterans. I can tell you from watching their progress, it has been and will continue to be challenging for them. There is a lot to learn because technology is a profession that demands a high level of knowledge and the grit to persevere where answers are elusive, and priorities compete. But when they graduate in December 2022 as certified technology professionals, they will be ready to take on technology roles in information security, infrastructure, platforms, data and architecture. Each will have a new career that is both exciting and rewarding.

Freddie Mac will benefit, too. We'll get new experts, trained in-house, but with experiences that will allow them to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to our business. We cannot know, but we certainly believe, that programs like FinTEC will bring more innovation to Freddie Mac, while at the same time helping us further diversify our team. That, for me, is the very definition of a great idea.