Each year, we’re blessed to host a handful of students as part of our civic tech fellowship. Throughout the fellowship, these undergraduate and graduate students explore new technologies, provide hands-on outreach in their respective communities, and create new projects that continually blow us away. Here, former civic tech fellow Jayson Chang discusses his work since Microsoft as a member of the Gap, Inc. team.
Alma Mater / Degrees Earned: MBA with an emphasis in Information Systems, San Francisco State University
When did you work with Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement? What were your main duties as a fellow? January – May 2015. My main responsibilities were to engage the San Francisco civic tech community by attending weekly Code for America hack nights, helping coordinate local hackathons, and meeting with government and community leaders. Attending weekly hack nights gave me the opportunity to work with a team whose project involved educating local communities about digital threats and risks. I also became familiar with Microsoft’s self-service business intelligence tools (Power BI), and was able to apply them to city-published data sets in order to build visualizations and product demos.
Where have you been since your time with Microsoft? I completed my MBA degree in December of 2016. During the second half of my MBA program, I was lucky enough to complete tech internships at IBM and Gap, the latter of which led to acceptance of a full-time position upon graduation.
Tell us what you’re doing now: I work in the tech division of Gap as the Product Manager/Product Owner for public cloud platforms. Specifically, I help lead Gap’s adoption and enablement of Microsoft Azure, which translates to representing dev teams and internal business partners and collaborating with technical architects on the Gap and Azure side. I am also responsible for public cloud communication and progress updates to the GapTech leadership team.
How are you using the skills you learned at Microsoft to take you further at Gap Inc.? During my time at Microsoft, I had to connect and collaborate with folks spanning a broad range of professional backgrounds and perspectives. That exposure helped broaden my own perspective, which allows me to better appreciate, understand, and value those around me, in both personal and professional settings. On the tech side, I had a great mentor in Scott Mauvais, whose experience and advice deepened my understanding and ability to derive business value through technology.
What advice do you have for students interested in entering civic tech? It is definitely worth exploring as a career or simply as an event participant. Civic tech is an emerging discipline/field that is growing and will continue to grow as urban centers evolve and face growing pains. Being involved in the civic tech community will expose you to passionate and altruistic technologists and professionals who are dedicated to the betterment of their communities. If you want to learn more, attend a local event in your area, where you will be greeted by some of the friendliest and most welcoming individuals you will ever meet.