From intern to VP: How Jason Burke built his engineering career at Discover

Learn how Jason Burke went from intern to VP with the support of Discover.
Discover Technology Staff
October 17, 2023

Meet Jason: From intern to VP through mentorship and support

When Jason Burke started his career as a college intern at Discover® Financial Services, he didn’t imagine that he’d become Vice President of Application Engineering 23 years later. In those two decades, Burke advanced into senior developer roles and, more importantly, gained a breadth of experience across different teams and technologies, including infrastructure, app development, and payments — all while staying within the Discover family.

"Discover, and the individual leaders and mentors within the company, actively encouraged, pushed, and challenged me to broaden my skills and perspective," Burke said. "That only happens in an organization that prioritizes helping people grow."

Here's a closer look at how Burke went from intern to VP with the support of Discover.

Consistent mentorship and support

From day one as an intern, Burke was assigned a mentor to help him navigate his role. “One of the reasons that I'm still here at Discover today is because of the support system and the tools that were provided to me,” he said.

After his summer as a college intern, Burke received a full-time job offer for a developer position. As he moved into more senior roles, he took on his own projects and eventually led teams, such as in web and app development. Discover also supported Burke in going back to school for his master’s degree in computer science.

"I had many pushes from my mentors and my leaders to take advantage of training, technical conferences, and new and challenging roles that would allow me to expand my knowledge," Burke said. "I could not only grow my skills but also contribute to results at Discover. It was a symbiotic relationship and there was a tremendous support system there."

As VP of Engineering, Burke now leads multiple web and mobile development teams, as well as Discover’s customer delivery channels.

"I'm still in the engineering mindset every day, but I’m making an impact by leading and mentoring teams who output the coding work, instead of writing it by myself as when I started," Burke said.

A safe space to ask questions and grow

Burke became an engineer because the field was always changing, and he thought it could satisfy his love for learning. As Burke said. “I knew that the technology I used when I started my career wouldn't look the same going forward.”

That’s why Discover creates a workplace culture that encourages developers to ask questions and challenge themselves to grow.

“At Discover, we take that very seriously — creating that safety and that structure to afford people the chance to learn," Burke said. "When I look at my personal journey, it was so important to have those opportunities to challenge myself and raise the bar and be afforded the space to do so."

Leading and guiding future engineers

Now, Burke is committed to giving back and mentoring other engineers who are looking to grow their careers. He plays an active role in sponsoring Discover’s internship program for developers, for example. He also recently launched a new internal program to help senior developers carve out a clear path to becoming expert-level engineers.

“Even for experienced folks who are new to the organization, we assign a mentor," Burke said. "We say, 'How do we make sure you're comfortable and that you have a seat at the table on day one? And how are we aligning with your goals and aspirations going forward?'"

Burke knows first-hand how impactful those questions and that ongoing support can be.

"I lived this journey,” he said. “Part of the reason I'm so passionate about these programs is because they opened doors that I didn’t even know were available when I first started. I want to continue to help others access those same opportunities."

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