Comcast on Monday introduced its Grows to Code program, an initiative to help the cable company’s front-line installers and call-center agents learn computer coding skills and move into entry-level software engineering roles. The six-month program announced its first 12 graduates, who went through an intense code training boot camp, an onboarding program and apprenticeship, on July 12.
Comcast partnered with non-profit organization LaunchCode, which offers educational training and job opportunities to people pursuing technology careers, to develop the program. Unlike other training programs, employees participating in Grows to Code are paid full-time at their average hourly rate and do all coursework as part of the 40-hour per week program. This, Comcast said, allows participants to advance their skills without taking time from their families.
Comcast said all 12 participants in the inaugural Grow to Code class completed their course requirements and are now full-time Comcast engineers.
Among the graduates are Philadelphia native Shelina Watts, who has been a field tech for Comcast for about five years.
“It was just right on time,” Watts said of the program in a press release. “This program allowed me to combine my love for creating new things with the real-world experience I gained as a technician to serve our customers in an entirely new way. This was an amazing opportunity.”
For her final project, Watts used her coding skills to build a searchable encyclopedia of sneakers — she hosts an annual sneaker drive to customize used sneakers and give them to children in need. After completing the program late last year, Shelina is now a member of the team, helping to build and evolve the very same app that she used as a technician in the field.
You can hear other stories of Grows to Code graduates here.
Combining in the field know-how with coding skills can lead to solutions to everyday business and customer experience problems, the company said.
“Who better to build tools for our front-line employees than some of our best and brightest front-line employees,” Comcast Cable executive VP and chief information officer Rick Rioboli said in a press release. “Working directly with customers gives them expertise that’s extremely applicable to the technical work we doComcast said it plans to expand the program to other markets outside of Philadelphia and is seeking a broader number of frontline employees to participate.”
“Our frontline technicians and care agents represent a deep, wide pool of incredibly talented individuals who understand our technology and the unique needs of our customers better than anyone in the world,” Comcast Cable executive VP and chief customer experience officer Tom Karinshak said in a press release. “It’s incredibly exciting to find yet another way to tap into that reservoir of talent, as we work to fill critical needs on our software engineering teams.”
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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