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Juniper Networks’ CTO On Combating The IT Talent Shortage And Creating A Diverse Pipeline Through Mentorship
‘I have always argued for this whenever I have to review somebody’s promotion to vice president. I always ask, who have they mentored? I use it in the evaluation of a person [because] they should be paying it forward,’ Juniper Networks’ Chief Technology Officer Raj Yavatkar tells CRN.
Closing The Gap
By day, Juniper Networks Chief Technology Officer Raj Yavatkar drives product and service innovation around intelligent networking, security, network virtualization, hybrid cloud, and mobile edge, to name a few. But he’s also keenly passionate about the power of mentorship and helping others realize and chart their leadership path in tech.
Early in his own IT career, Yavatkar was alarmed by the fact that many engineers were struggling to map out their careers and find ways to advance that didn’t immediately translate to leaving the company to find the next gig. It sparked an idea: the tech veteran began teaching career development classes and created an internal career development template, which has been adopted by several the of the world’s largest tech companies. These days, Yavatkar is deeply involved in Juniper Networks’ mentorship program and has helped the Juniper HR team launch new programs geared toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and advancing women in technology.
Since then, Yavatkar has been a firm believer that effective mentorship can help attract and retain technical talent, especially amid the talent gap that tech companies and channel partners are grappling today.
Yavatkar spoke with CRN about creating his own tech development courses — which he has successfully implemented at Intel, VMware, Google Cloud, and now, Juniper Networks — how tech leaders can identify and develop talent at all levels through mentorship, and how mentorship can pave the way for greater diversity in tech.
Here are excerpts from the conversation.