CA World 2011: Q&A: Russ Artzt, CA co-founder

We spoke to the man who founded CA Technologies with Charles Wang about the cloud, innovation and what businesses can expect next from the tech giant.

I think it's critical you invest. We've been able to do it in a very economic way. We're hiring students with experience for inexpensive salaries. They're giving us great products so the economics of it really work.

I think that for a company to continue to grow and prosper you have to take advantage of new talent.

We're also building a farm system for CA as we offer full-time jobs to the students the top 35/40 per cent of each group who do well. This not only helps innovation, it also helps CA to get the most talented young people who have a lot of passion for what they do. It keeps us going and we can do it in very economical way. For example, in the case of Nimsoft automation or cloud assist, [we created them] for a small percentage of what it would have cost traditionally.

Do you think vendors like CA have a duty to offer work experience to those coming into the industry as well as training to avoid future skills shortages?

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I think that for a company to continue to grow and prosper you have to take advantage of new talent. In any given employee population you have a certain percentage that are going to retire at some point. We're certainly finding that the mainframe population are getting into their sixties and thinking about retiring. When they do, you've got to refresh. This gives us way of refreshing.

Innovation is important but it's also important that we build this programme of training new young talented kids coming out of school, bring them into company and get some new ideas. You have to do it. If you don't you end up going a little bit stale. This way we bring new people in; get the best students, the ones with the most passion, who are hardworking and so on.

Having me as co-founded involved in running the programme helps. Every two to three weeks I have students present to me to show me what they are doing. It really gets them excited but also keeps a sense of urgency. We get tremendous productivity. I guess it helps that I'm involved and we have senior developers involved too.

[The innovation centre] is an interesting model and I'm looking to add to it and get customer involvement. As customers have requirements for new products and new technologies, we can help them.

I believe in getting customers involved very early on. I want to include customers in the programme too. I also want to get faculty [more] involved. Some of the faculty has real expertise in some of these areas. At Stony Brook, for example, they have tremendous expertise in security and wireless devices. We want to make use of that as well. The combination of an academic environment with academic talent combined with what we have at CA ends up delivering a much more creative, well rounded knowledge base.

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