Autism Advantage at Autodesk

One of my favorite locations in San Francisco is the Autodesk Gallery, a space which showcases pioneering design and engineering. It’s a wondrous place filled with projected lights, fascinating textures, and amazing stories. Each item featured in it was built using Autodesk software and they range from skyscrapers, to sports cars, to special effects in Hollywood films. In short: it’s really cool. That made it a perfect place to convene a gathering of Autism Advantage data analyst alumni last week.

Jason Rosenberg, Senior Manager of Audit and Advisory Services for Autodesk, led a tour of the Autodesk Gallery for our alumni. The experience enabled them to see data analysis beyond numbers and mathematical models and through its end-expression in forms ranging from 3D-printed running shoes sold by Under Amour to the digital worlds created in films like Avatar.

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An Autism Advantage graduate examines a 3D printed shoe built by Under Armor.

Following the tour, our group continued to the Autodesk offices themselves where they met with Autodesk Data Analytics Program Manager David Wentworth and Senior Director of Audit & Advisory Services Scott Schulze. Wentworth and Schulze discussed professional development, current industry trends, and how Autodesk data teams help the company drive innovation. One particularly innovative project they are working on is the use of data to analyze and identify risk areas within travel and entertainment expenses.

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The meeting also allowed two of our data analyst training program graduates to present their research and analysis of machine learning models to Autodesk. The work they presented was built during their time in the Autism Advantage training program.

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This wasn’t our first engagement with Autodesk. This spring, Autism Advantage staff volunteered with Code2040’s Tech Trek, an alternative spring break for black and Latinx computer science college students which facilitates peer-bonding and visits to Bay Area companies. During this year’s Tech Trek, Autodesk sponsored a community reception for Code2040. It was one of the many ways that Autodesk makes its space and staff available to those solving for diversity gaps within Silicon Valley.

When individuals graduate from Autism Advantage, we continue to engage them by providing professional support and networking opportunities. That not only helps the individual grow in their career, but helps to build neurodiverse community and culture within professional circles. Partners like Autodesk are a key part of that. The company may feature many cool things in its gallery, but joining Autism Advantage to enhance the development of autistic talent in Silicon Valley is just as amazing and cool.

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