Turning Soldiers into Software Developers

What you’ll learn

  • Futures Command’s role in curating talent (02:20)
  • Changing the Army mindset (08:00)
  • Two key elements of the shift underway (12:50)
  • Best practices from industry and academia on the future of work (16:15)
  • How “Soldiers as software developers” translates (22:10)
  • What’s the key to Soldier retention (27:11)

Key quotes

“There is this amazing trajectory of change that as an institution, we’ve got to go through.” — Katharine Kelley, AFC, Chief Human Capital Officer (02:36)

“I will say that the selection rate for the Software Factory is on par with the selection rate for Harvard. So it’s very competitive. And I just say that because there is this talent everywhere in the Army.” — Tierzah vanDamme, Army Software Factory, Chief Recruiter (06:00)

“Policies are not written for a more agile way of managing talent. Historically, the Army manages talent based on what you get defined as when you come in, not necessarily what your ability, aptitude and future talent can be. So that’s a fundamental cultural mindset shift that we have to make as an organization.” — Katharine Kelley, AFC, Chief Human Capital Officer (07:39)

“If I have somebody that’s really talented, and has those values, I can upskill them, which is different. That’s a new thing for the Army.” — BG Thomas Drew, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Commanding General (11:59)

“The Software Factory has taken a unique approach in bringing in SMEs from industry to train up the Soldiers. So they’re learning side by side every day, pairing one on one through industry best practices. And the results are pretty astounding.” — Tierzah vanDamme, Army Software Factory, Chief Recruiter (16:35)

“I’ve seen it real world work out where that person, that ability to use tech, whether it’s software development or all the other skills that we put in some of these elite soldiers, was the difference between life and death and mission success and failure.” — BG Thomas Drew, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Commanding General (23:32)

“High-performing organizations import talent as much as they export it. Right? If you are only a one-way street, you are not as good as you can be.” — Katharine Kelley, AFC, Chief Human Capital Officer (42:50)

Who you’ll hear from

Vito Errico, Army Software Factory, Co-director

BG Thomas Drew, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Commanding General

Tirzah VanDamme, Army Software Factory, Chief Recruiter

Katharine Kelley, AFC, Chief Human Capital Officer

▶️ Click to play the full session

Pre-register for Fed Supernova 2022 today.

About Fed Supernova
Fed Supernova is a two-day annual conference highlighting defense innovation in Texas. This first-of-its-kind interactive experience draws national attention and connects leading entrepreneurs, investors, thought leaders, corporations, and decision makers from around the world.

About Capital Factory
Capital Factory is the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas, the number one startup state in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, programmers and designers gather day and night, in-person and online for meetups, classes and coworking. With boots on the ground in Austin, Dallas and Houston, we meet the best entrepreneurs in Texas and introduce them to their first investors, employees, mentors and customers. According to Pitchbook, Capital Factory has been the most active investor in Texas since 2013.

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The center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. We meet the best startups in Texas and introduce them to potential investors, employees and customers.

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