Where there’s a will there’s a way! Aaron McBee snagged a job in the tech industry after attending AFROTECH Conference 2022.
Interest In Technology Field
McBee says that while living in Austin, TX, he desired to work in tech, despite coming from a non-traditional background. He describes his entry into the industry as being difficult at first. However the tides would start to shift after he began a cybersecurity apprenticeship while working a commission-based role unrelated to tech. He characterizes this season as financially demanding.
“I wasn’t enrolled in any traditional college or university, and it was just right before I started a cybersecurity apprenticeship with iQ4, and I was starting another role with my prior employer,” McBee told AFROTECH. “And it was just a tough time for me economically. I couldn’t afford to go out and pay out of pocket for certifications or any fancy boot camps or titles. So, a lot of the things that I was doing was just based off the things that I could study from free resources, and they say the more resourceful you are, the better your outcomes.”
McBee had a strong desire to attend AFROTECH conference, but he was experiencing financial hardship. Since he was determined, he utilized his resources and expressed his interest to his network. He was then afforded an opportunity and was fortunately able to go to the conference.
His experience at the conference ultimately led to him securing a role as a system operations associate with Wells Fargo. However, securing the opportunity did require patience.
Interest In Wells Fargo
His first course of action before attending the conference was to update his cover letter and upload his resume to AFROTECH’s resume book. From there, McBee scouted companies that would be present to determine if there was alignment with his personal core values. Right from the start, Wells Fargo emerged as the top contender.
“Wells Fargo was the main company that stood out to me because consistently, over the past few years, they’ve been winning awards about our diversity and our employee resource network, and they just been a boon to the community in and out of the organization, and I was enamored now to have the opportunity to join those individuals,” McBee expressed.
The Power Of Networking
McBee went on to connect with Wells Fargo’s Don Wilson, who he described as “a pivotal force in recruitment.” Additionally, McBee maximized his time by attending different activations and networked with connections from LinkedIn.
“I believe networking is the lifeblood of AFROTECH, and it may not always be on the app schedule,” he said. “It may be in a talk or panel that isn’t overflowing out the room. Maybe stop by that booth with that scary organization that you never thought you could apply or work for. You’d be surprised they might be throwing a happy hour or something or dinner that you could attend and pretty much make fruitful connections from. My best advice to people going into AFROTECH this year is to expect the unexpected, prepare for the unexpected, and also be mindful of people’s times and come prepared because if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.”
It's A Marathon Not A Sprint
Applying his own advice is what helped McBee land a job at Wells Fargo. He wasn’t hired on during the conference. However, following up with the connections he acquired allowed him to learn the “pain points” of the company. This understanding guided him in determining the skills he should attain to become a valuable asset and prospect.
“I applied multiple times prior to AFROTECH and didn’t get in, and during AFROTECH, I was able to get an interview and didn’t get hired on, but essentially I think even if you don’t get immediate traction during the conference, strategically follow up,” McBee advised. “Figure out what people’s problems are and what their pain points are in their organization. That’ll more than likely dictate what their hiring priorities are, and when they reveal that to you, that’s when you will be able to get the prerequisite skills to do those types of roles for that organization. And as long as you constantly show upward progression in your skills, paths and so on consistently, usually good outcomes follow.”
McBee officially joined Wells Fargo in April 2023 and assumed his position two months later.
Wells Fargo's Exhibition Booth
You can find McBee at AFROTECH 2023 this year representing Wells Fargo on the exhibition floor. He looks forward to being an inspiration to others navigating tough times, reminding them that their next career opportunity could be close at hand.
“I’m big on uplift,” he said. “I want to be there so that not only people that are in college, but people trying to pivot careers or veterans or people who are literally just crippled financially or impoverished or underemployed have an opportunity to see themselves represented on a high level and see pathways for them to break in — not only with their charm but their ingenuity and their knowledge as well. That’s more so important, and I ultimately think that resonated with the higher ups in my organization, and I can’t wait to get back and uplift people and make new friends and run into my tribe from last year.”
Wells Fargo Is Hiring
McBee also notes Wells Fargo will be actively hiring.
“I hope that people attending the conference this year will stop by the Wells Fargo’s booth because I will be there actively answering a few questions about some things and will actively be interviewing people on site,” he detailed. “So, definitely submit a resume to the resume book for AFROTECH and look on Wells Fargo’s website for open opportunities.”