Beyond a rewarding career, signs of success include giving a helping hand to the next generation. Jordan Thompson, Computer Systems Technology (CST) Diploma program alumnus from 2004 is a leading example of this.
As the Vice President of Project Engineering at Fortinet, he now regularly hires BCIT graduates onto his team, and has started an annual scholarship award for upcoming BCIT students. Established in 2017, the J. E. Thompson Programming Excellence Award is intended to recognize top students in several Computer Systems Technology options to help them go on to make a mark in the industry. “I was fortunate to have access to student awards while attending BCIT. This allowed me to focus on my studies instead of finances,” says Jordan. “I wanted to give back so that other students have similar opportunities to be successful. The industry can always use more qualified individuals.”
Collaboration prepares BCIT students to be career-ready
Jordan joined Fortinet in 2005 as a Web Developer. He believes the collaborative environment at BCIT provided him with the necessary experience to organize and manage a team, while specialized second year courses gave him the computer networking and security background he needed to be successful at Fortinet – a company that delivers broad, truly integrated, high-performance security across the IT infrastructure.
“BCIT prepared me for this role in several ways,” says Jordan. “The Industry Sponsored Student Projects (ISSP) program allowed me to get my first job after graduation, and I was able to continue working with the same employer.” The significant group work in class also provided him with some experience to organize and manage a development team. He followed the Data Communications for CST option, which gave him the networking and security background he needed to be successful in his company.
As Fortinet’s business needs have expanded and evolved, Jordan has earned various – and growing – leadership opportunities.
A thriving career in a growth industry
In his previous role as Director of Web Development, Jordan focused on interacting with customers and field teams to get direct product feedback, enabling the team to build features their customers wanted, and to do so much quicker than the competition.
“My current team of 20 likes to solve problems, and we regularly have days where the team is able to work on small projects outside of their day to day responsibilities,” explains Jordan. “These special days have been highly successful for us, resulting in tools that improve development efficiency, internal web sites for knowledge sharing, and new creative features that customers use.”
Jordan encourages BCIT students to carve out their own career path. “Work with your manager and discuss the things you are passionate about and want to achieve. There is a shortage of tech talent in BC, and there are always jobs available for candidates that stand out. I’m thankful for my time at BCIT and the career options it opened up to me.”