Author Archives: LeslieR
Recently President Obama called for businesses to create new opportunities for students through classroom technology. In his speech at the White House Science Fair this week, he spoke about some of the amazing innovations young students have created in the past year and emphasized there is still significant talent to be tapped.
Esri has responded to the President’s request in a remarkable way. During Tuesday’s event, President Jack Dangermond announced that Esri has pledged $1 billion to make its mapping software available to more than 100,000 public schools. This pledge, along with those from other businesses and nonprofit organizations, will have a significant impact on building up our youth for the future.
In an interview with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart,” Dangermond said, “We are challenged by getting new workers to work in (the GIS) field.” He goes on to say that this technology will help kids in school do projects that may eventually have a true impact on the communities they live in. The goal of the $1 billion pledge is to get students working with the software from a young age so they may become interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) careers years before they start working. Esri will be conducting workshops this summer to help teachers understand the software and help them integrate it into their curriculum.
Hear more about this inspiring initiative:
This week a group of 25 students began their summer internships at Esri, including several in regional offices, bringing the total to 34 to date. They represent schools from coast to coast across the US and as far away as Italy.
There will be several more “waves” of students arriving in the coming weeks. When the last one has filled out their paperwork and been shown to their office, we’ll have welcomed about 100 interns—a bit of Esri history in the making! They’ll be working in all areas throughout the company; one, Katherine, will be working with me to tell the Esri careers story. Watch for her posts over the next few months.
Welcome, interns. It’s going to be a great summer!
I recently had the opportunity to get to know two members of our IST Division, Diana and Dimitri. We talked about what it’s like being a business analyst at Esri, what motivates them, and what skills are most valued in new recruits.
How long have you been with Esri?
Diana: I’ve been here over 14 years; the last 8 have been in IST. Before that, I was in the US Air Force.
Dimitri: I started January 2012, and prior to that I was an SAP consultant for 16 years.
Do you each have a specialty within the business analyst role?
Diana: It’s expected that we have the general skills of a business analyst—requirements gathering, processes, communications—that type of collaboration is needed. But we each also have specialized skills where we understand a particular product—in my case, Salesforce—and can take those requirements and figure out how to build them into the system.
Dimitri: When I got hired, I had the HR background from both the business and the SAP side, so it was easy for me to transition into my role here. Additionally, my prior consulting experience gave me the skills I needed to be a successful business analyst at Esri.
What’s the most rewarding part about being a business analyst at Esri?
Dimitri: For me, it’s helping our colleagues. If you think about it, I support HR and our HR team supports our employees, who build and support Esri products. We (business analysts) are indirectly helping the world, through Esri. That, to me, is the most rewarding thing—interacting with the business and sharing knowledge.
Diana: On our team, I love that they allow for creativity and they look to us for help; also seeing that we influence a user’s experience, whether it be a member of our Sales Division or our customers, because they see our product immediately. The fact that we can have that quick turnaround is awesome.
Are there things about working in IT at Esri that set us apart from other technology companies?
Dimitri: We’re not just standing back and saying, “Okay, everything’s working fine.” We’re always looking at how to improve.
Diana: I agree. We keep moving forward with processes and standards, and we keep evolving with what is new—both as a business analyst as well as with technology. We just keep improving.
Dimitri: I sit in meetings with the CIO. How often are business analysts sitting in a meeting with their organization’s CIO and he is really listening to what you’re saying? That to me is unheard of. We’re a flat organization, so you can exert a lot of influence as a business analyst, more than I think we could at most other companies our size.
What does Esri provide you to stay on top of trends and changing technology?
Diana: With Salesforce in particular, we have a user group that meets once a month here on site. We also have our own Esri-wide BA group that meets every two weeks to bring us all together to share best practices and what we are working on. Esri also offers tuition reimbursement, so you can take workshops and classes to learn on your own.
Are there other things you think potential applicants would find appealing, whether it’s about the work you do or Esri as an organization?
Dimitri: For me, zero for medical premiums, which is great. Not a lot of companies pay the full ride for medical and dental. The other thing for me is they’re big on work–life balance here at Esri; it’s flexible in terms of work hours. I don’t think I’ve been to a place that’s been as flexible.
Diana: As a Salesforce BA, I love that we’re on the cutting edge of incorporating features and abilities. We are allotted time to go to conferences, which is highly valuable because I bring the knowledge I gained back to my colleagues. It’s unheard of to be able to use all of the pieces that a company or a software tool is exposing. Our colleagues expect that we know what’s coming up and will be ready. That drives me to continue learning.
Dimitri: We don’t have that hierarchy that lots of companies have. In most places, they give you certain responsibilities and that’s it. I think here we still have that influence and when you say something, it’ll be taken into consideration.
Diana: Esri’s been awesome with allowing employees to grow and provide opportunities if you’re willing and want to excel and expand your horizons.
What do you think is the most important skill a potential candidate should have?
Diana: For me it’s a creative approach to problem solving and good communication. You also have to be flexible enough to adjust to changing priorities, from production issues to support.
Dimitri: I’d also say listening skills, because in order to gather requirements from your users you have to really listen to what they’re trying to achieve from a business perspective. I also think presentation skills are important, because we do have to present our findings and recommendations to the business. And, of course, technical skills are important because whether you’re a business analyst for Salesforce or if you’re in SAP, you need to understand the technology and how it can best be leveraged to achieve business goals.
Diana: You also need a customer service mindset. You may not talk to the customers, but because you’re influencing how they work, you need to have that insight.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Diana: You definitely won’t get bored working here. Being a business analyst, you are challenged all the time. You get to know your colleagues, who can become your closest friends and like family.
Dimitri: You want to be with a company that’s growing, not a company that’s stagnating. You can see the growth at Esri—the new buildings and renovating existing ones, putting money into infrastructure, our products, hiring great people. So that actually shows that we’re getting Esri to that next level. Jack (Dangermond, Esri president) is very forward thinking in terms of where he wants to go, and I think that’s good because there’s a vision there. If you really want to have a long-term career here, you can.
Have a question for Diana or Dimitri? Email them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re like many Esri employees, the answer is two! In celebration of National Bike to Work Day, two events were held on campus to raise awareness about the benefits of cycling to work. An informal presentation was given by an Esri employee who talked about how to choose the right bicycle and make sure it fits, sharing the road with cars, how to choose the best route for commuting, and more. An “Energizer Station” was set up in the Esri Café where employees could get refreshments and giveaways. Everyone who pledged to ride his/her bike to work was entered into a drawing for prizes.
Esri recently held an eWaste Recycle Day, with nearly 100 employees dropping off unwanted electronic items including computers, printers, monitors, TV sets, and cell phones. More than 5,600 pounds of equipment were donated to Goodwill, which processes it in an environmentally responsible way to help protect our planet from hazardous waste. The income Goodwill receives from the recycling program helps fund education, training, and job placement services for people with disabilities.
Truly a win-win. Happy Earth Day!
From its very own circus to locally brewed orange-inspired beer, from 16 parks to a high school with a working farm, discover some of the reasons why we feel Redlands is special.
A new issue of Esri News for Students and Recent Grads is now available online.
Are you one of the thousands of students who will soon make the transition from college life to the working world? In this interview with Michael Johnson, Esri’s university programs manager, learn what you can—and should—be doing now to land your first full-time job.
It depends on where they’re at professionally and academically. If they have internship experience, they’ll likely already have some leads. I advise students to get going as soon as school starts in the fall semester—proactively leveraging contacts, networking, crafting their resumé, and applying to the places they know they want to work. So many students make the mistake of waiting until the spring semester or even when they graduate before realizing, “Hey, it’s time for me to find a job!”
For a lot of us, this time of year can be especially stressful … buying gifts, preparing special meals, and a full social calendar. But if you’re looking for a new job or considering a career change, you don’t have to put the job hunt on hold until after the New Year. Esri HR partners Kristin and Megan share some tips on how you can make the most of looking for a new opportunity during the holiday season.
I’m on the Location Analytics team in Product Development. I work closely with developers and the Developer Lead to ensure that features are implemented as per the specification and that they make sense from the user’s perspective.
I started as a Support Analyst back when the SDK Team was the Developer Support Group. After two years, I transitioned into the role of a Group Lead. I was in Support Services for five years before I moved to my current role in Product Development.