Okta Tech Pathways Week and the Difference Diversity Makes to Cyber Security
At Okta, we believe providing opportunities in technology to historically excluded groups is crucial to building more equitable businesses and communities. That’s why we’ve committed to inclusive actions that empower young people to succeed in tech and build stronger communities worldwide. We’re highlighting the work that we do throughout Cyber Security Awareness Month, and we hope other tech companies will join us in this mission.
Central to our pursuit of these goals is our annual Tech Pathways Week program, which celebrates its fifth birthday this year. The event, which now takes place virtually, is a partnership between our Okta for Good and Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging efforts. This event aims to support our community of emerging cyber security professionals by making training, mentorship, and networking opportunities more accessible to students and job seekers, especially underrepresented and underserved young adults.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to take Tech Pathways online, and the benefits were clear: more students than ever before took part, and we extended access all over the world. In its new, virtual format, Tech Pathways broke through accessibility barriers to reach more than 400 students with the assistance of more than 500 Okta employees in over 150 cities globally.
Almost every participant said the event taught them about career opportunities in the technology sector—and improved their confidence.
Okta’s diversity and talent mandate
Okta is dedicated to facilitating pathways into technology and security careers through Tech Pathways, but opening the door is only the beginning. After facilitating first steps into security, we support participants to continue their journeys with opportunities for work, internships, and training. But our contribution alone can’t change the culture—we want other tech companies to follow suit! So we’re sharing a bit about some of our workforce development programs in the hopes of inspiring more growth in this space.
- Our Equity Accelerator is a paid, full-time, six-month development program focused on providing experience to underrepresented talent. It helps participants achieve technology and non-technology certifications and includes mentorship to help them meet their professional development goals.
- Okta also provides career paths through internship programs that give young adults hands-on job experience, professional development, and networking opportunities over the course of 6–12 months. Our programs launched in 2015 to help high school and college-age students explore career possibilities, make an impact in an organization, and discover the kind of work they love. Through our partnerships with Year Up and Genesys Works, these programs prioritize extending opportunities to underserved youth.
- We’re always looking to grow our sales team with highly motivated people keen to establish their careers in technology. Okta’s Business Development Associate program is aimed at professionals early in their working life who are looking to transfer their skills into a sales career. The role supports the increasing demand for Okta’s market-leading identity products, while participants learn and develop new sales expertise.
“My vision is to create pathways for folks who may not have the experience or network to land jobs at great companies like Okta but do have the grit, growth mindset, and transferable skills to become exceptional sales people.” —Rachele Zamani, Manager, Business Development Associates
Okta for Good lays track toward tech careers
The Okta for Good program is how we act on our commitment to maximize our benefits to the communities we belong to. That means embedding a social impact and equity lens across the business to remove obstacles that people from diverse and non-traditional backgrounds face in education and development. Black professionals hold less than 1% of tech leadership roles, and Latinx professionals hold less than 2%; it will take dedicated action from cyber security organizations to change those statistics.
Our Tech Pathways Week and other workforce development initiatives are important parts of our contribution towards bridging the technology and talent gap. We strive to support a diverse workforce and collaboratively create a diverse industry by opening up opportunities for historically excluded applicants in the tech sector, addressing critical societal needs, developing tech for good ecosystems, and educating employees to create change.
Join Okta in diversifying our tech and cyber security community
We all need to do our part to help underrepresented job seekers establish careers and build their professional networks. We owe it to the cyber security community. And we’d like to invite other tech companies to join us.
- Partner with nonprofit organizations to host an event
- Build online resources for job seekers
- Start an internship program
Join us by creating your own initiative to enrich the cyber security community, and find out more about our Okta for Good program.