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JPMorgan Chase Technologists Ignite their Careers with Communities of Practice
Ignite, a global, employee-led initiative, helps technologists to advance their careers by learning in social, inclusive communities.
When Disha joined JPMorgan Chase’s Software Engineering Program (SEP) in Mumbai in July 2019, she was excited to get hands-on in a collaborative, full stack software engineering role, encompassing the end to end cycle of product delivery and ownership.
As a lifelong learner with a deep interest in Machine Learning and Data Science, Disha was also interested in finding a place to explore these topics with others. When Disha and her fellow graduate new hires were introduced to Ignite communities of practice in Mumbai, they were delighted at the prospect of joining.
Disha said, “I attended as many community meetups as I could, not just of Machine Learning and Data Science, but also several others in Mumbai such as DevOps and Big Data. I was so inspired by the fact that there are events of constant engagement happening throughout the year. There was so much to learn and practice, that I never found the community repetitive. These communities of practice were particularly helpful to me in adjusting to the working environment here at JPMorgan Chase.”
Simply, a community of practice brings people together based on shared interests, enabling them to develop new skills in a social, collaborative learning environment. By design, such communities ignore traditional corporate silos to bring people together on a professional topic they are interested in or passionate about.
Colleen, from Commercial Banking's Core Engineering & Architecture team in Chicago, has seen first-hand how beneficial communities of practice can be. She said, “I can’t say enough good things about the Ignite communities and the networks they create – especially across our lines of business. At community meetups, I can hear what practitioners are challenged with and see if there’s anything I can offer to help. It’s a great way to informally see how our teams are approaching common initiatives or challenges, share what we’re doing, and experiment with ways to improve our own approaches.”
Disha and Colleen’s stories are two of many. Since Ignite’s grassroots inception in Glasgow 2016, recommendations and word of mouth helped to grow the program into a global ‘community of communities.’ Today, there are over 170 active communities in 20 locations worldwide.
Disha continues, “One of the best things that I saw here is inclusivity, which I practice myself. Nobody in the community is judgemental in any way. The atmosphere around you is all about learning, irrespective of what you know and what you don’t. Such a positive and vibrant atmosphere gives you a healthy environment to talk about interesting ideas and develop them into something useful. All this makes me realize nothing is impossible: coming right from college and seeing this culture, I am assured I will always have the right motivation in my life and will be able to create a healthy network. This is all because of Ignite.”
In addition to inclusivity, another guiding principle behind Ignite is that the entire initiative is driven by its members. Anyone can propose a new community, with those gathering the most interest receiving the support to launch and resources to give them every chance of success.
The relationship between the organization and Ignite communities is symbiotic; the communities receive the resources they need in order to be successful, and so much of what the communities do aligns perfectly with JPMorgan Chase’s vision for the future of technology. In addition, Ignite has become a platform for people to learn new skills, innovate and even forge new career paths for themselves.
Debanjan is a User Interface (UI) developer, based in Bournemouth, who works in Employee Experience Corporate Technology (EECT). He has been with the firm for over seven years and started as a graduate in the Software Engineer Program (SEP). Debanjan has also benefited from participating in his local User Experience (UX) design community. He shares, “While I initially joined the firm in a non-UX focused role, I have always had an interest in UX and wanted to join a community of practice where I could share design ideas and learn from a team. Through my Ignite community’s monthly meetups, I have been able to network with people from across the Bournemouth campus, whom I wouldn't have had any contact with through my regular day-to-day job activities. This network helped me increase my knowledge and gain the confidence I needed to seamlessly transition into my current UX focused role. Just recently, I stepped up to help co-lead the community to contribute back and keep learning with others.”
Not even a global pandemic could extinguish the passion of Ignite communities. The resilience of the huge force of volunteers was astounding, as communities adapted to working remotely and provided a sense of place, social rooting and purpose – even for new colleagues who joined during Covid-19 isolation. Turning the situation into a positive, the communities even participated in Ignite 24, a global event consisting of 24 hours of community meetups, held in a follow-the-sun format across a single workday.
In October 2021, Ignite celebrated its five year anniversary since the first communities launched. Events took place globally to celebrate the milestone and show appreciation for the volunteers that support the program.
Disha, Colleen and Debanjan, along with all members of Ignite communities, continuously strive to make a positive difference for themselves, for others and for the organization – and we wait eagerly to see how the next five years unfold.
Our Ignite communities are open to all new joiners in all roles listed on our careers site - why not browse and apply!
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