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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
1/21/2016 10:01:22 AM
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culture
Andre's comments in regards to re-training the workforce reflect our recent poll where "culture" was cited as the most important factor in service providers' digital transformations. 

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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
1/21/2016 1:36:33 PM
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Re: culture
Thanks Carol. It was interesting to read the chat response from today's radio show in regards to out-sourcing instead of training in Latin America. Not sure if it was a generalization, but it seems short-sighted. 

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wilson@lightreading.com
wilson@lightreading.com
1/21/2016 10:55:08 AM
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Extensive re-training efforts
AT&T appears to be banking heavily on retraining a lot of the folks it already has, which is an interesting strategy, given the constant complaints I hear from CSPs about the dearth of IT talent.

It makes a lot of sense on many levels to start with who you have - for one thing, knowing telecom remains important and a lot of the folks AT&T is retraining probably have the ability to take on the new skill sets. 

But it is a massive undertaking and, based on what Fuetsch outlines above, clearly will take some time. 

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
1/21/2016 5:26:11 PM
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Gold
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
It's good to see AT&T investing in retraining like this Too many companies don't make that investment, and then are baffled as to why they can't find people with the skills they need. 

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vnewman
vnewman
1/21/2016 6:56:31 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Mitch: I think "these days" with the demands of modern techology, two of the best qualities an employee can have are their ability to 1. learn and 2. adapt to change.   These are not easy to assess in an interview setting.  Even if an employee comes into a company like ATT with stellar qualifications and certifications, that skill set will be outdated before the year is out.  There has to be a baseline of course, but I'd hire someone with ability over someone with a piece of paper any day in a field like this.

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
1/22/2016 10:35:28 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
vnewman - Indeed, ability to learn is the only skill that matters in this industry. Technology specific skills will be out of date in a few years. 

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batye
batye
1/22/2016 11:31:04 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Mitch Wagner  I could not agree more as what I see this days tech support require to update they skills each 3 to 6 months....

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Ariella
Ariella
1/22/2016 11:32:26 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye yes, things advance and change so rapidly that you really do have to keep learning in order to adapt and remain competitive in your field.

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batye
batye
1/22/2016 12:34:26 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella in my books it like never ending process - for now :)

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Ariella
Ariella
1/22/2016 12:36:23 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye that's a good thing. It's great to learn more. Without that, some jobs get boring. I know a nurse who switched her specialty multiple times, and some of them required some reschooling. I think she grew bored with the routines and so wanted to switch things up. 

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batye
batye
1/22/2016 12:51:23 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella for me learning it a way of life... as everything changes.. we must learn...

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/22/2016 3:15:26 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella:

Interesting to read what you shared about the nurse.

I have something similar to share. One of my firned's husband who garduated in engineering, then graduated in law, then obtained bachelors in science and finally settled in with Masters in some technology area. Finally he made a career in IT and not to miss tried whole bunch of technologies, programming areas what not. Presently he is into mobile technology. Just an example that demonstrates the hunger for learning and exploring whole different things.

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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
1/22/2016 9:39:03 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
We have a shortage of engineers here in the U.S. Service providers are getting behind programs such as First Robotics and STEM, but it will take a while to percolate up. 

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Ariella
Ariella
1/23/2016 6:33:27 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Mike do you have any ideas about how to encourage more people to enter the field? What about offering cross training to people  with other majors? 

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vnewman
vnewman
1/25/2016 2:16:27 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
I would personally love to see some sort of "coding" requirement in high school or even at the university level.  It really is just another language now, like Spanish or French, in a way, no?

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/25/2016 2:26:28 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Vnewman:

My son is a high school freshman this year. One of his electives is Java programming. I am very surprised the way they are doing programming at school. It is basically a tool that puts the skelton program in. These kids keep writing code as required by the programming problem that they are solving. I try to sit with him which ofcourse he hates. I am quiet unpleased to know that kids just are programming without even getting to know the real basic fundemantals. I wanted to teach my son the right way starting with basics so he knows each bit of the program that he is writing. But he is not excited about that and not completely convinced with that.

But we must agree at this age there is absolutely no barriers to what kids can learn. As long as they are motivated enough, they can learn and do anything that interests them. I have heard of many stories about a 10year old coding like a pro. Very impressive generation and trend to watch out for !

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Ariella
Ariella
1/25/2016 2:43:57 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@vnewman I have a kid in high school now. As far as I know, coding is not a basic part of the curriculum like algebra, biology, and history. Incidentally, languages are now strictly elective as the board of Regents dropped its foreign language requirement. 

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/25/2016 2:58:09 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella:

Correct. As I just mentioned in high schoold kids have an option to choose programming as an elective. But it is not one of their mandatory streams in schools.

If the goal is to really focus and target on getting more programming skills out into the world introducing programming as one of regular subjects sounds like an idea. Learning programming would surely not hurt any kid but would surely improve their logical thinking abilities.

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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
1/25/2016 3:22:43 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
I don't think we have anything close to coding as an elective where we live. We do have STEM, but it's just getting off of the ground here, and the resources seem pretty limited so far. Plus it's an after school program instead of being offered during school hours. 

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Ariella
Ariella
1/25/2016 3:37:27 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Mike I don't believe my kids' school offers real coding classes either. There is a nice robotic elective, but that is only for a select few who get in on the basis of math and science grades. They don't have enough room in those classes for all the students.

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DHagar
DHagar
1/25/2016 9:46:51 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
Ariella, good observations.  We don't have a true education system to support the "pivots" he is talking about.

I like his design of Foundational then Intermediate, Specialized, and Advanced.  I believe that the exposure to the new technologies, the increasing role of algorithms across the board, need to be basics.

I have taken two courses with Udacity, they are incredible.  AT&T has truly put together a progressive development system for their workers.

As you and Mike point out, these "modular" STEM or coding courses are not, in and of themselves, sufficient to create a culture prepared for digital transformation.

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/26/2016 11:51:47 AM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
 I believe that the exposure to the new technologies, the increasing role of algorithms across the board, need to be basics.

@DHagar: Well said facts. Exposure is the very first step which facilitates seemless learning inadvarently. This is one of the driving factors for me to participate in these forums. All of us are so pressed for time and this platform gives an opportunity to get exposure into diverse areas / topis / technologies and what not. Unlimed and Unstoppable exposure and learning. 

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DHagar
DHagar
1/26/2016 2:45:33 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
ms.akkineni, agreed - knowledge is power.  And with technology, applications, new models, etc., there is always something new to learn.

I share your interest in staying informed with relevant information.  If you stand still today, you become outdated.

Note:  To your point with your son on algorithms, I totally agree.  The basics of framing problems, applying logic and data drives the programming.  Everyone should learn that.  He will fall back on that with time - even if he wants something with more immediate returns!

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batye
batye
3/6/2016 7:03:15 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@DHagar  I could not agree more but would like to ad it also gives better future and saves time one way or other on the long run... in the game called life...

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DHagar
DHagar
3/7/2016 1:39:12 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye, that recognition is what distinguishes smart companies.  AT&T recognizes the investment truly pays off; unfortunately many companies seek a quick path and don't make those investments.  That's what impresses me about this plan.

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batye
batye
3/7/2016 1:50:56 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@DHagar yes, you are right, but it would be nice to see if other Co. do make those investments...

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DHagar
DHagar
3/7/2016 1:58:57 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye, absolutely - it is the right thing to do and those who invest in human capital will create a true win-win.  I think the good news is that others will invest as well "after" they see the results of the smart companies.

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batye
batye
3/8/2016 12:16:32 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@DHagar  thank you, I do hope more Co. started doing the same...

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dlr5288
dlr5288
3/8/2016 12:59:56 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
Good points.

I also think that AT&T is making a very smart choice with their digital transformation plans. It's always important to keep up with the new advances in technology or else you get left behind. It's great that they're moving forward and making these crucial advances.

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DHagar
DHagar
3/8/2016 1:24:05 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@dir5288 -I believe they will succeed as well, in that they are demonstrating the commitment to building the capability to fully execute their plans.  That's my definition of true transformation.

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batye
batye
3/6/2016 7:01:46 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@ms.akkineni  this days if you do not do it/learn it/have this way you will be left behind...

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/26/2016 12:03:31 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
And forgot to mention, 'Algorithm' is the basic foundation for learning something new. Since I come from IT, I can relate this well to programming. When one has a commanding hold in basic algorithm skills, they can get to master any programming language easily.

I tried to enforce this as a pre-requisite for my son prior to him jumping into Java programming. Kids being kids who often times get restless till they see end result, I can say I only had partial success in my attempt. Atlease I  tried. :)

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batye
batye
3/6/2016 6:57:38 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella in some Canadians schools they do offer... but it more like a intro/beginners level...

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Ariella
Ariella
3/7/2016 10:06:23 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye you mean in the colleges?

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batye
batye
3/7/2016 11:34:39 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella yes, at community colleges :) 

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Ariella
Ariella
3/7/2016 1:23:29 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@batye I see, thanks for clarifying.

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batye
batye
3/7/2016 1:38:23 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella  :) 

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vnewman
vnewman
3/7/2016 3:09:36 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Ariella.  That is a shame on all fronts for languages.  If there is one thing I want for my son it is to be fluent in several languages - it's a skill that A) Not everyone has B) No one can really take away from you C) is fairly enduring if you learn early in life.

I'm hoping by the time he's in middle school, there is a coding requirement in place, even if it is just an Intro class.  If not, I guess I'll just have to foot the bill myself and send him to "coding camp" in the summers.

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Ariella
Ariella
3/7/2016 3:32:58 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@vnewman I agree; it's a very valuable skill to have.

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batye
batye
1/22/2016 11:33:14 AM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@vnewman  interesting point it does make sense as ability to learn fast is a must have skill this days...

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/22/2016 3:05:56 PM
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Platinum
Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Mitch:

In total agreement with you. Besides right skills and experience, I would say right attitude and enthusiasm must be considered for such companies that constantly deal with evolutions and transformations all the time.  

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
1/23/2016 12:14:49 PM
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Re: Extensive re-training efforts
@Carol: Learning is, of course, a constant process.  Good to see AT&T reignite the old "Bell Labs" attitude of innovation and constantly staying ahead of the game with research.

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imorris
imorris
1/22/2016 5:27:44 AM
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Gold
Reskilling is not the big issue
I wonder if reskilling is the real challenge here. I think you can teach old dogs new tricks but getting people who've worked in the field for years to look at business problems with an entirely fresh perspective is the bigger issue, I reckon. You need young talent for that and you have to change the culture and the workplace and the perceptions about your organization to attract those people. Could you have seen Marc Zuckerberg donning a suit and tie, and going into a job where he's reporting to several tiers of middle manager above him, rather than starting Facebook? How do you get people like that into your organization?

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Ariella
Ariella
1/22/2016 11:34:15 AM
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Re: Reskilling is not the big issue
@imorris I couldn't agree more. The problem is that those who hire usually do so while thinking of present needs -- what languages and systems they are currently working with. Consequently, they're likely to pick someone who has been there, done that over someone who has not -- even if the latter has a great ability to learn that would make him/her more valuable down the line.

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
1/22/2016 9:38:56 PM
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Re: Reskilling is not the big issue
@Ariella: Experience is great, but (in my, ahem, experience) those who are more novice haven't picked up any bad habits yet!  In these situations, it is often better to have the less experienced quick-study than the slow-to-evolve old hand.

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/22/2016 3:09:56 PM
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Platinum
Re: Reskilling is not the big issue
@imorris:

I wouldn't generalize that 'Reskilling' can not be an option. It actually differes from person to person. There are some people who are excellent and quick learners and just pick up new things seemlessly, though they were stuck with old ways of doing things.That bunch of people definitely need to have an opportunity to continue to learn and excel in their respective fields.

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ms.akkineni
ms.akkineni
1/22/2016 3:22:50 PM
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Platinum
Re: Reskilling is not the big issue
@imorris:

I also would totally agree with you about encouraging young talent and Mr.Zuckengerg's example is surely phenomenal.

Present generation is way more advanced and exceptional. We may not even guess what they have to offer unless you see. They are far more advanced in thinking, abilities and they have a completely different perspective of things around you. In my opinion there should be mix and balance when you think about need for fresh Vs experience.

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