Growing up in Seattle, Yonas Habte saw big tech emerging and thought he’d land at one of those companies for his career.
Completing not one but two majors in college – Information Systems (IS) and Marketing – Yonas intended to take advantage of opportunities emerging at local tech giants.
And then, he landed an internship at Rockwell Automation. That internship turned into a two-year Leadership Development Program rotation.
Standing firmly at the intersection of Information Technology (the backbone of business) and Operations Technology (how things get made), he’s realized that the heartbeat of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is automation.
Aspiring technology career
That intersection is also perfect for his career aspirations.
“I focused on marketing because I wanted to understand my audience – customers. I focused on IS because I wanted to understand how to fix problems,” Yonas said. “Marketing is about the who; IS is about the how. The combination allows me to solve the right problems.”
Yonas chose a rotational program at Rockwell Automation because the company’s values more closely aligned to his technology career aspirations. Had he chosen a tech company solely for its name, he worried that when the cool factor wore off, he might be relegated to roles that did not help him grow as a person or a professional.
New beginnings: Leadership Development Program
Yonas is starting the fourth rotation of his Leadership Development Program in Enterprise Architecture. Having completed stints in supply chain, cybersecurity and global marketing, he’s grateful for the patience, guidance and support of teams ready to take on a new member in the biggest learning stages of a burgeoning career.
“College prepares you for work, but only work can prepare you for your career,” Yonas said. “I can be good at something when I join a team, but this early in my career, I will only get better if people are invested in my growth. Each step of the way, my teams have shown me every day that they care not only about what I bring to the team, but what they can offer to me.”
The six-month rotations, Yonas said, are just one indicator of how much Rockwell Automation values early career development.
“I appreciate a company that wants early career professionals to find the right match, a culture that’s invested in people,” Yonas said. “It’s a long-term approach rather than simply trying to fill positions. Your betterment is a priority. I felt that when I interviewed; I’ve lived it in my rotation.”
What Yonas didn’t know before he joined Rockwell Automation, which is headquartered in Milwaukee, was that “Midwest nice is a real thing,” he said. “I am surrounded by some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, who freely share their knowledge and perspective. I don’t know where else I could have gained so much in so little time. Here, it’s more than feeling welcome. I have a true sense of belonging.”
As a young professional, Yonas enjoys the appreciation for his perspective and the willingness to take his suggestions.
“I am self-starter, and I have the space to take an idea and explore it,” he said. “I’m not rule bound. I do not have a degree in chemistry or experience with emulation models, yet here I am on a tiger team, expanding my knowledge with experts in these areas who ask for my opinion and seek new ways of doing things. It’s innovation at its best.”
Free to innovate
Yonas is at his best when he’s given independence and freedom to innovate – to identify a problem and find the solution. He’s open to feedback and was at first surprised at how willing and ready more experienced people were to receive his feedback and ideas.
“Our world and our technology change so fast that you can’t be stuck in one way of doing things,” Yonas said. “We constantly are talking about what’s next and how we will address challenges our customers don’t even realize are on the horizon yet.”
Yonas invites others who want to explore multiple career options to consider a rotational program like his.
“This is a place where you can use the most current technology, learn new things, be part of something bigger, he said, “and most importantly, find your place and make a difference.”
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