I would tell you that the IT career at State Farm is very much what an incoming employee wants to make of it. So an incoming employee can come in, they can specialize, be very technical in one area, and they can make a good career out of that and make a lot of money.
Or if they choose, they can have a much broader type of a career where they’re not a specialist, they’re a generalist. So there are lots of options for folks coming into State Farm.
You’ve got about 20 different skill sets within technical analysts all the way from security to performance to networking to infrastructure coordination, hardware, just the whole—the whole gamut there.
From a network perspective, inside networking—I’ve worked in everything from hands-on, up through servers, up through network design and architecting in my former role. So that was just within networks. I know people that have been programmers that have went from programming to supporting of network operating systems and then back to the programming side working some in security.
Well from the security stance, we want to protect our assets and that’s where the emergence in technologies comes into play. I mean when you look at biometrics or smartcards or tokens, anything that’s going to lock down the entry to the system, is something that’s going to secure our assets.
And in today’s environment with fishing and identity theft, that’s what State Farm’s really focusing on is making sure that we’re keeping our customers safe and keeping the bad guys out.
Systems analysts and development is the other set of roles. And that’s all the way from development, whether it’s legacy development, to new technology, object-oriented. So a systems analyst is a very—another large technology role for us.
When you’re out of college I think that people make it sound like you’re studying to become a programmer and you’ll be writing code for the rest of your life. The reality of it is, most people here at State Farm in the IT industry do not actually write code. There are lots of different roles here. There are testers, there are project managers, network specialists. So programming is actually just a very small aspect of the whole Systems department.
Data is another constantly growing arena. So data specialists, database design, database systems administrator, a host of skill sets within there. System designers and architects is a growing arena within our department. So those are the primarily technology-focused roles.
Information is absolutely critical to our business model. Having a data center is paramount to the success of the organization. Having the ability to store data, manipulate data, change data, is absolutely critical to what we do.
So from an IT perspective all that data’s got to be captured somewhere. So it falls to IT to keep that data consistent, keep that data available for the business partners to use to make those important decisions when we go to look at policy holders and to determine the risk of those policy holders to our book of business.
Testing is a huge area that’s growing. You imagine the size of this department, the amount of testing that needs to get done. So there’s technical environment support to the technical business, what are we testing, why are we testing it, how do we go about doing this stuff.
Our IT capabilities are our number one priority at State Farm. We spend a lot of time trying to work with business partners hand in hand on new technology and looking at how we can better the business, either streamline business processes or provide new applications to add additional functionality.