Stephanie Cruz started as a business major at the University of Florida. However, part-way through her college career, she decided business wasn’t the right path for her. She knew it was a risk (and a lot of extra work) to switch to a dramatically different degree program, but computer science was calling her name. It turned out to be a very smart move when she landed a job with American Express after college. Here are five reasons Stephanie knew she found the right career path and company.
- A Small Company Feel
When she was starting her post-college job search, an open software engineering role at American Express caught Stephanie’s eye. Some of her friends had interned there and loved that it had the feel of a small company—despite having over 50,000 employees. When she started working there, it was immediately clear that her friends were right. “I never feel like I’m not allowed to approach someone,” she says of the team environment. “It’s such a big company, but we’re all interacting with each other.”
- Room to Grow
Stephanie’s job at American Express revolves around writing code for software that will impact millions of people. She also has a lot of flexibility with her career path since her role combines both creative and analytical thinking, something Stephanie knew she wanted in her first job.
“If you want to explore another interest of yours, they’re definitely supportive,” she says. “My manager has given me other responsibilities, from project management to UX and UI design to working with our interns. It never feels like I’m tied down to one career here.”
- A Top-Notch Training Program
Training recent college grads at the start of their jobs is one thing. Building out a training program that lasts the whole year is another. Stephanie—along with all engineers hired out of college—went through the company’s Engineering Development Program. The program teaches new engineering team members a mix of technical, mentorship and leadership skills through sessions scheduled throughout the year.
This approach to training also helps employees feel included from day one. “It provided an immediate community to be a part of,” Stephanie says. “I started building a professional network and even developed friendships through the training program.”
- A Dedication to Innovation
You might think hackathons are reserved for small startups, but Stephanie says they’re an important part of the tech culture at American Express. “Some of the coolest projects have come out of our hackathons,” she says. And there’s nothing like a 24-hour coding session with the goal of building a prototype to make you feel connected to your coworkers!
- The Chance to Give Back—in a Big Way
American Express has a range of employee networks, but one in particular made the biggest impact on Stephanie’s time there so far: Women in Technology. Through Women in Technology’s CLIMB student outreach program, Stephanie and her coworkers head to local middle schools to teach girls how to code or help them learn a new programing knowledge.
In fact, American Express was named a “Top Company for Women Technologists” by the Anita Borg Institute, which runs the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing—the largest gathering of women technologists in the world.
“I’m able to have an influence on the younger generation.“ she says. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.”
Interested in a career with American Express? They’re hiring. Head this way to check out open positions and apply!