“Never has there been a greater need for people who not only understand concepts at work, but can put them into immediate practice to move the business.” – Nate Edwards, Vice President of AT&T University


Sophisticated, progressive technology is an indispensable necessity for any business that wishes to maintain relevancy in the modern global climate of rapid growth, innovation, and change. Companies must not only transform how they provide goods and services to consumers; they must transform internally as well. To be competitive, companies need extraordinary talent. Upskilling your workforce is one of the single most important projects your organization can undertake. AT&T, recognizing the critical importance of internal development, recently took some remarkable steps to upskill and transform its workforce.

Since its founding in 1885, AT&T has been no stranger to change. Because of its ability to embrace transformation, the company is even more relevant today than it was over a century ago. Its most recent evolution, from a telecom company to a full-fledged technology company, hinged on the upskilling of thousands of employees.

During its tenure as a telecom company, AT&T’s emphasis was on land line development. As the direction of the company shifted toward software based communications, it realized that the company and its employees were at a disadvantage; their skill sets were not aligned with AT&T’s goal of creating a robust software-based network. AT&T believes that the company’s success is directly rooted in the success of its employees. This ideology, coupled with the prevailing scarcity of tech talent, AT&T made a key decision to focus energies on upskilling its current workforce; a move that would prove to be an integral part of the success they now enjoy

The company needed a learning and development partner that could provide its workforce with the in-demand tech skills it needed to accelerate its growth as a technology company. Moreover, the provider also needed the flexibility to provide the training on a mammoth scale.

With this in mind, AT&T chose not to just hire a traditional L&D provider. It decided to create a revolutionary, unique, proprietary curriculum by partnering with Udacity. At the time it was a bold, untested decision, but together, AT&T and Udacity crafted Nanodegree programs – rigorous, project based courses in data science, mobile, and web development. These programs provide AT&T’s workforce with the key skills and knowledge it needs to create, drive, and support the company.

AT&T’s implementation of Nanodegree programs has greatly benefited its workforce on many levels.  Not only has it helped to close the skills gap, but it has led to increased employee engagement and confidence. Gary Hill, a Jr. Front End Developer at AT&T and a Udacity student said, “Where the Nanodegree shines is in learning specific skills and the application of those skills, which you can put to work immediately.”

Moving forward, AT&T intends to train more employees through its Nanodegree programs and  to develop new program offerings in the future. “The Nanodegree program is quick, industry-driven, and accessible,” says Scott Smith, SVP of Human Resources at AT&T. These attributes make the Nanodegree programs through Udacity an ideal choice for companies who are looking to empower their employees to drive better business results through employee engagement and innovation.

For more information about how you can use Udacity to upskill your workforce, please visit its website.