We recently handed over the Cengage Group LinkedIn to five professionals from across our organization. Read on to learn more about a day in the life of someone working in technology, content, sales, software engineering and finance, all areas where we are currently hiring. Doug M., Chanda P., Jarrod M., Joshua S. and Kayla B. each share a bit about their career journeys and give an inside look at what it’s like to work at Cengage Group.
What It Takes to Work in Technology
Doug M. began working at Cengage Group almost 10 years ago as Vice President, Chief Architect. Doug shared, “I ran different functional groups within engineering, which helped broaden my oversight across the various engineering roles. I also had mentors and leadership coaches within the organization, which helped accelerate the growth of my leadership skills. It was a hard journey at times, with lots of lessons learned, but I’m a much stronger leader now than when I first came to the company.”
Today Doug serves as the Senior Vice President of Technology for our Cengage Work business. His team is responsible for “building and supporting all technology projects for Cengage Work, which provides learning for the workforce skills market. The projects cover everything from marketing and sales technology to analytics and reporting.”
When asked about the culture within our technology organization, Doug described it as “one that is built on mutual trust and respect, with a focus on successfully delivering business value. I want the teams to enjoy coming to work, collaborating and learning from one another.” When asked what it takes to work in technology at Cengage Group, Doug said, “we look for talented people who like to work with other talented people and enjoy getting things done. Our team and unique culture are what keep me here. Balraj Kalsi, the General Manager of Cengage Work, and I both believe in having strong teams with a good culture and we’ve spent the last few years building a strong foundation.”
Finally, we asked Doug to provide a piece of advice to technologists who are just starting their career. He said, “remember that the technology is just a tool and not the end result. Understand the business you are in and then make the right technology decisions for the business. Always learn about new technologies, processes and tools. Be a team player, mentor others and allow yourself to be mentored by others.”
A Career in Content
Chanda P., a Cengage Group employee for 13 years, started as a Web Content Editor and, as the team expanded, her manager invited her to move into a new supervisory role. Chanda said, “I hesitantly agreed. I shadowed my manager in various tasks and meetings until we were both comfortable with me handling them on my own. Over the years, my responsibilities grew even more, and I transitioned from a supervisor to a manager. Now as a Senior Manager, I manage 13 direct reports across the four roles on our Technical Content Team (TCT). My team creates digital assessment content primarily for STEM Higher Ed disciplines.
Along the way, I had amazing managers that acted as coaches and mentors who helped me develop and find my own management style. I also utilized manager-led and company-wide trainings, peer book discussions and read lots of articles on current manager trends and topics.”
Chanda works with “self-organized, highly collaborative, agile teams that are focused on student success, innovation and self-development. We seek to have consistent opportunities for leadership and new challenges at all levels, based on individual career goals, interests and business needs. We foster a culture of feedback at all levels to refine our interactions and processes through project retrospectives, stakeholder feedback, surveys and one-on-one conversations. We aim to ensure everyone's perspective is heard and considered. Participation in our Employee Resource Groups (ERG) is also encouraged so we can help make an impact on our company and communities.” Chanda is an active participant herself and serves as a site lead for Mosaic, our ERG for BIPOC employees and allies. She’s part of a group that’s working to implement more professional development programs for Mosaic. She’s also a member of our Women in Tech (WiT) ERG and has participated in the WiT Mentor program as both a mentor and mentee.
Chanda shares that her favorite part about working here is “the ability to job craft throughout my career to meet my professional interests and support others. This has been especially valuable as I have been in a similar role for almost 10 years but have been able to continue to expand my responsibilities, impact and focus.”
Achieving Success in Sales
Jarrod M. has worked at Infosec for 9 years and joined our team when we acquired the company in March 2022. Jarrod began as an Account Executive and currently serves as the Head of America’s Sales at Infosec. He said, “I oversee an incredible team of around 45 people that help empower our clients in the fight against cybercrime through education. The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is twofold. First, cybersecurity education is more important now than ever. It's extremely rewarding to help our clients become more cyber resilient and achieve their career goals. Secondly, I have a team that is counting on me to make sure we are moving in the right direction. Infosec has a reputation for being nimble and responsive to their client base, and I feel I owe it to my team to work hard and make sure we are staying ahead.”
When Infosec was acquired by Cengage Group, Jarrod shared that he “felt anxiously optimistic about the acquisition. This was my first time experiencing something like this so there is always concern about how things will shake out. I’ve been extremely pleased with how the transition has gone so far. Infosec has maintained all that made it great before, while having more support and benefits from joining a larger organization.” He added “I remember joining the first company-wide meeting and being really taken back. As a large organization, I expected the meeting to feel less open and more compartmentalized. What I’ve found is that Cengage Group really takes their culture of openness and transparency very seriously. Everyone that I’ve worked with has been extremely supportive and more than willing to help. That has been really refreshing to see.”
To those thinking about joining our cybersecurity team, Jarrod says, “be ready to roll up your sleeves and do great work. I’ve learned and grown more here than in any other organization I’ve worked for. Hard work is rewarded, and you can establish a long-term career with plenty of opportunities to advance. The key is loving what you do, and to always keep looking forward.”
Software Engineering in an Employee-Centric Culture
Joshua S. recently joined Cengage Group’s technology organization as a Software Engineer. He described the interview and onboarding process as “surprisingly pleasant. I was nervous at first but that quickly faded because everyone I spoke to was friendly and helpful whenever I reached out. The whole process felt less like an interview and more akin to a series of conversations.” Joshua explained that he pursued a career here because he sees “a great opportunity to contribute my skills to products that positively impact people’s lives. As a Unity 3D developer, I was also interested in seeing how the team at Cengage Group was leveraging Unity's robust toolset in an educational setting.”
When asked how he’s feeling about the role so far, he said, “the company has exceeded my expectations in terms of how well it treats its employees. There are a ton of professional development services and programs that employees can take advantage of to improve their skills or build new ones. I’m currently completing SQL Server Management Studio courses on Pluralsight. The managers are another valuable resource of information here. They seem genuinely interested in my professional growth and development at Cengage Group. The company fosters an employee-centric culture which has made it an amazing place to work.”
Joshua said that he would describe his team culture as “independent teamwork. Although this is an oxymoron, it’s the best description I can think of. In most sprints, we choose our own individual goals, milestones and schedules - generally speaking. But ultimately, we’re still working toward the same common objective. I believe it’s my team’s constant communication, and technical expertise, that help bypass any potential pitfalls related to either word in my contradictory description.”
Finding Her Path in Finance
Kayla B. has experience working as an auditor and GL Accountant and most recently joined Cengage Group as a Senior Accountant of Global Accounting and Reporting. Kayla explains that the culture within the finance and accounting team is “very inviting. Our team truly embraces our ethos by being candid. I don’t know many companies where the VP of Accounting will set aside their valuable time to have a one-on-one meeting with you . . . just to check-in and see how things are going. It’s truly amazing how appreciated and valued I feel. I also think the employees here understand and embrace lifelong learning and have the mindset of ‘it’s okay not to know everything.’ That’s what our team and resources are for. Let’s figure it out together.” She added that, “the culture and my colleagues are my favorite parts about working here. There are many employees who have worked here for 10, 15, 20 years, which I believe speaks for itself. You don’t see that very often nowadays, and it’s very encouraging that so many truly enjoy working here.”
Kayla shared that there are plenty of ways to get involved and feel connected even though many employees work remotely. “Our CEO has weekly candid conversations with the employees on various topics, to keep us updated and informed. The company also offers several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) which promote inclusivity within the Cengage Group community. Being part of the ERGs has allowed me to network with people beyond the accounting and finance departments. For example, the Mental Health Alliance ERG hosts a monthly ‘Wellness Wednesday’ virtual event, where an outside professional speaks on selected topics, educating and interacting with listeners. Past topics have included stress management, brain health, self-care, etc. The various ERGs not only benefit individuals on a professional level, but on a personal level as well.”
For those who may be interested in joining our accounting and finance team, Kayla says, “Apply! You might be exactly the candidate we are looking for. You won’t know if the job or the company will be a good fit, if you don’t try.” She reminds job candidates to “be yourself during the interviews. I think so many people focus too much on wanting to impress the interviewers that they forget to be themselves and to simply have a conversation.”
This content was originally posted as part of an employee takeover on our LinkedIn page. To see more, follow us on LinkedIn.