Bixel Exchange’s Tech Salon highlights career pathways into L.A. tech, and the need for reform
LOS ANGELES, CA — Bixel Exchange, the Center for Innovation & Technology at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, hosted Tech Salon: How To Get A Tech Job In Los Angeles on Nov. 14, with presenting sponsor California State University, Northridge (CSUN). More than 150 people attended the event at Cross Campus, Santa Monica, to hear panelists from across L.A.’s private and public sectors, including leaders from top tech companies.
Bixel Exchange kicked off the event with the release of “Building L.A.’s Tech Talent Pipeline: A Sector Report on the Information Technology Industry,” in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and using data from LinkedIn, highlighting the current skill sets, hiring trends and career pathways for L.A.’s competitive tech industry. The report revealed that L.A. has the highest percentage of tech talent without a degree listed on LinkedIn (24 percent); and the University of California and the California State University systems produce the majority of L.A.’s tech talent, with eight of the 10 top producers of tech talent at the bachelor’s level and seven of the top 10 at the master’s level.
"The presumption is you have to go to a Stanford or MIT, but there are other pathways into tech…You can absolutely be trained here [in L.A.] and get that job,” said Nicole Isaac, Head of U.S. Public Policy at LinkedIn.
Following the release of the report, panelists spoke on their hiring processes, and how the City’s economic and political sectors can best bridge L.A.’s IT education skills gap. All panelists agreed that while schooling is important, experience and skills gained through alternative programs, such as coding bootcamps, is just as crucial when considering a hire.
“If you can imagine a 16-year-old living in Boyle Heights having the opportunity to shadow or work with you, you are going to open up their world,” said Robert Sainz from the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department, addressing the tech companies in the audience.
“We have an enormous wealth of talent right here in our local universities and community colleges. The only thing they lack is the work experience and the network needed to get a tech job,” said Sean Arian. “This report highlights the need for more work-based learning opportunities for L.A.’s students beyond the classroom.”
The report was produced in partnership with the City of Los Angeles’ Economic & Workforce Development Department and Workforce Development Board, the new Center for a Competitive Workforce, LA HI-TECH and LinkedIn.
Speakers at the event included Nicole Isaac, Head of U.S. Public Policy, LinkedIn; Tyler Bell, Head of Talent, GoGuardian; Genevieve Crawford, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Boingo Wireless; Jeff Miller, Senior Director, Talent Management, Cornerstone OnDemand; Greg Toroosian, Lead Engineering Recruiter, Hyperloop One; Matt Pressberg, Film Business Reporter, TheWrap; Bill Simon, Global Sector Leader, Media & Entertainment, Korn Ferry; Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager, Operations, Economic & Workforce Development Department, City of Los Angeles; Deborah Cours, Ph.D., Interim Dean, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, CSUN; and Kish Rajan from the Center for a Competitive Workforce.
About Bixel Exchange
Bixel Exchange is the Center for Innovation and Technology at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. We launched Bixel Exchange in 2013 to help connect the region’s growing technology sector to the diverse and talented individuals here in L.A.
Our mission is simple: we help create career pathways for diverse youth and empower entrepreneurs with the goal of creating a more prosperous Los Angeles. We do this through our three core programs: our Startup LAunch Incubator, our L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline and our Thought Leadership events.
Bixel Exchange acts as the technology industry business intermediary for the City of Los Angeles Workforce System, the Center for a Competitive Workforce and the LA HI-TECH consortium of community colleges and high schools.
"Building L.A.’s Tech Talent Pipeline: A Sector Report on the Information Technology Industry."