Pfizer’s Digital Rotational Program Gives New Grads a Unique Way to Launch an Impactful Career in Tech
Learn why this program should be radar of every technical student.
Deciding where to begin your career is no small decision, and if you studied computer science or another technical major, you’re likely to have a host of job opportunities to evaluate. That means that as you consider which role will give you the best shot at having a fulfilling career, you can take into account everything from the professional development opportunities to the culture to the broader mission of the company.
As you research available post-grad opportunities, there’s a unique opportunity that should be on the radar of every technical student: Pfizer’s Digital Rotational Program.
Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is responsible for the medicines and vaccines that change the lives of millions across the globe; currently, the company is at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19. Behind their medical breakthroughs and life-saving research, though, is a massive investment in cutting-edge technology that pushes Pfizer’s mission forward. The Digital Rotational Program at Pfizer is an entry-point into this leading technical organization, providing a unique opportunity for new grads to establish their careers at Pfizer and develop professionally.
To learn more about what sets this program apart, we spoke with Negeena, Nick, Amanda, Mitchell, Ricardo, Victoria, and Carla, seven Pfizer colleagues who are currently within or graduated from the Pfizer Digital Rotational Program. They shared the top advantages of the program – from tailored learning to invaluable networking opportunities – and how it has impacted the trajectory of their tech career so far.
Carving out a career path
College students are often told that they should know exactly what they want to want to do with their careers by the time they reach graduation. For those who complete their senior year with a wide range of career interests and skills, accepting a job that’s narrow in scope won’t help graduates live up to their full career potential.
Pfizer’s Digital Rotational Program allows high-potential graduates to carve out the professional path that’s right for them, establishing a long-term career trajectory in tech. Through a series of four rotations taking place over six months each, employees are empowered to choose different areas of focus before deciding on their final placement. The Pfizer Digital Rotational Program doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, which means graduates have the opportunity to tailor their rotations to their career interests and help them figure out exactly where they want to take their career while also broadening their skill sets. To Negeena, a current colleague in her final rotation, this is one of the top benefits of the program.
“I feel like the rotational program is a safe space for you to learn about yourself,” she said. “I found it to be very beneficial in terms of self-discovery and understanding what I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy. I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I started in a different entry-level role where I had a set of tasks and didn’t really have flexibility to try different positions or interact with different teams.”
The flexibility to forge their own career path and gain a well-rounded skill set was a major draw for the Pfizer colleagues with whom we spoke, including Nick, a Pfizer colleague in his final rotation.
“When I was graduating from college, I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare and something around technology but beyond that I wasn’t sure,” said Nick. “Graduating with a technical degree, there are so many directions you can take your career. So the rotational program was perfect because I could try out four different things within the technical field to find what I really liked.”
From cybersecurity to R&D to commercial operations, Nick’s rotations provided him with a wide range of experience that brought him advanced technical skills, familiarity with new technologies, and enhanced interpersonal skills. The focus on skill-building and opportunity to grow professionally is a cornerstone of the program that extends even beyond day-to-day responsibilities.
Gaining invaluable skills and connections
Wherever you work, your first job will be a learning experience. However, the Pfizer Digital Rotational Program is specifically designed to provide those in the program with a well-rounded education that shapes them into future leaders in tech.
One key element of the program is the access to senior leadership and Pfizer’s investment in mentorship. For example: every month, a member of the leadership team at Pfizer has a sit-down chat with colleagues of the rotational program. Amanda, a current colleague in the Rotational Program, recalls the value of meeting with Pfizer’s Chief Digital & Technology Officer.
“Our CDTO had coffee with us and we had the opportunity to ask questions and hear what she did at our age that pushed her career forward,” Amanda said. “Not everyone has the opportunity to hear this kind of advice. It’s clear that Pfizer is invested in our success.”
Pfizer also provides colleagues in the program with professional development workshops that teach important skills like corporate etiquette and emotional intelligence – two competencies that are crucial to long-term career success.
Beyond soft skills, every colleague in the program gains a set of technical skills that will push their career forward. For example, Mitchell, a current colleague in the Digital Rotational Program, has strengthened the concepts he learned in his college classes and acquired new skills through real-world application.
“As a computer science major, you often have a list of what you’re required to learn, from programming languages to databases” he said. “You do learn that in school, but actually applying it in the corporate world shows what’s behind the concepts and how it applies to solving actual technical problems.”
From the hard skills acquired through various rotations to the soft skills developed from workshops and informal networking, Pfizer’s Digital Program provides new grads with the foundation for a long-lasting career in tech.
Starting your career at a diverse and inclusive organization
In addition to the learning experience provided by the Digital Rotational Program, the colleagues we spoke with highlighted the diversity of the organization and inclusive culture as a major reason they feel lucky to launch their careers at Pfizer.
Pfizer is committed to building an organization that is as diverse as the patients and communities the company serves. To create a workplace where colleagues from all backgrounds and perspectives can thrive, Pfizer invests in an environment and culture that champions inclusion and supports the growth and development of all employees. Pfizer’s Colleague Resource Groups are one part of that equation – these site-based affinity groups are open to all Pfizer colleagues and offer support, developmental opportunities, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Ricardo, a current Pfizer colleague who started his career in the Digital Rotational Program, began participating in CRGs at Pfizer as soon as he joined the company. He is a part of the Latino CRG, as well as a CRG geared toward welcoming and supporting new employees.
“Pfizer does a great job leveraging Colleague Resource Groups and letting people establish these communities,” Ricardo said. “I’m a part of the Latino CRG and it’s all about doing things that help our development or help spread awareness for the culture we bring into the office. We have Hispanic Heritage Month, and our CRG finds ways to introduce the site we work to the parts of the culture they may not be familiar with. It’s a great example of Pfizer setting up a foundation to help support different communities and cultures within the organization.”
Victoria, a graduate of the Digital Rotational Program and a current Pfizer colleague, has also used Pfizer’s Colleague Resource Groups as a way to build her community and grow professionally. She is a part of Pfizer’s CRG for LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies, and is also a part of the Global Black Community (GBC) at Pfizer. Through GBC, Victoria participated in Pfizer’s ‘Mentor Match’ program, where she had a formal mentorship with a more senior colleague for a year, and also had the opportunity to give back to the local community through outreach and service programs. Outside of Pfizer’s CRGs, Victoria notes that Pfizer’s commitment to work-life balance speaks to their welcoming and inclusive culture.
“Pfizer’s culture is not only collaborative, but family-oriented,” said Victoria. “They want to make sure you feel like you belong and are part of the Pfizer family, but also that you have the freedom and ability to spend time with your own family.”
Collaborative, community-oriented, and inclusive are some of the words used to describe Pfizer’s culture. These core values speak to an environment that not only attracts, but retains, a diverse group of colleagues who feel comfortable bringing their full identities into the workplace.
Another defining part of Pfizer’s culture – and one of the top reasons these graduates chose Pfizer – is that everyone is working toward a common goal of changing patients’ lives through breakthroughs in medicine.
Building tech with purpose
The Pfizer colleagues with whom we spoke had different technical skill sets and interests – but all wanted to work somewhere where their contributions would have a real impact. Healthcare, especially in the wake of a life-altering pandemic, is an area where that impact is clear.
Carla, a Pfizer colleague who graduated from the Digital Rotational Program several years ago, reflects on how Pfizer’s mission is embedded in day-to-day work, and how technology can drive so much of that positive impact.
“I was able to attend a conference where patients with a genetic disease shared the challenges they face daily,” said Carla. “Talking to these patients shed a completely different light on my work because it showed how something as simple as an app with the right features could change patients’ lives. It really made me think: this is why I do what I do every single day.”
That broader impact is at the heart of what brings Pfizer colleagues to work every day – no matter the role.
“Everybody I’ve worked with is very patient-driven,” said Nick. “Whether you’re writing code or directly involved in lab work, everyone has the same passion for getting treatments to patients or helping scientists find cures, and I think that’s really cool. That’s probably one of my favorite parts about the company.”
Deciding where to begin your first job will set the stage for the next phase of your career – and there are countless factors to evaluate. If you’re a technical student who wants to contribute to an important mission while carving out a high-potential career trajectory, Pfizer’s Digital Rotational Program could be the perfect place to begin your professional path.
Learn more about Pfizer's Digital Rotational Program here.