Avatara was founded on the guiding principle of exceptional care. From our products to our customer service—even the way we care for our employees—striving for superiority is always a priority.
That’s why we offer employees unlimited opportunities to learn and grow within the company. Employee education is critical to the innovation and passion that drives Avatara forward. Rob McCormick, Avatara Founder & CEO, believes in the philosophy of hiring for cultural fit first because everything else can be taught. In fact, he takes it upon himself to do the teaching. In 2020, employees had the opportunity to take four different classes taught by McCormick right here at Avatara HQ, at no cost. Areas of study included:
- Business Management: Participants learned how to understand financial statements, market opportunity, recurring revenue models and revenue recognition, public filings, and capital expenses and asset value.
- Coding: Any employee who desires gets access to all CodeCombat class levels to learn how to program. Last semester, participants worked in teams using Java in a system called RoboCode to build robot tanks that battle each other in an arena.
- Problem Solving and Logic: This class provided students with a subscription to Brilliant, which is a leading system for teaching a wide variety of technical subjects. The class focused on Problem Solving, Computer Learning, Science in Daily Life, and dabbled in Physics.
- Avatara Technology: Each week, the class dug into a different tech topic specifically used in the CompleteCloud Platform. This included Twilio coding, Linux systems, REST API, SQL language, Data Tables, VMware, and quite a few others.
After meeting over lunch every week, employees who chose to participate in the various classes walked away more knowledgeable and with a new appreciation for the career opportunities they have at Avatara.
Ben McDonald, Avatara employee who participated in the Business Management class and the Problem Solving and Logic class, certainly saw the value:
“I’d like to say that a guy that has built two billion-dollar companies offering 4 hours out of his week to educate his employees is awesome. I’m sure there are better things Rob [McCormick] could do with his time and I’m grateful that he is willing to share his wisdom into various aspects of our business, technology, and life in general.”
Regarding the Business Management class, McDonald said, “It helped give a lot of background on where we are in the lifecycle of our own company and it also gave insight into how we operate. This was beneficial in my role as a Platform Navigator. I had never actually taken a business class before and feel like now I can better understand my customers and their needs. It still amazes me that companies can live in debt without actually turning a profit for years!”
He added that, “The logic class was great because it really helps with figuring out what to do first when faced with a problem with multiple variables. The ability to sort the data into necessary information, non-necessary, and desired information when tackling a problem is invaluable in any position. Additionally, Rob (very generously) got us all subscriptions to Brilliant so we can continue with our own education and pursue other classes that we might find interesting.”
Several other Logic and Problem Solving students, echoed this sentiment.
“I enjoyed the diversity in the topics we explored through Brilliant,” Bryant Webster shared. “It’s a great tool for learning about different algorithms, math, science, physics, etc. The most valuable experience was learning the standard process to approaching any type of challenge, project, or problem and the problem-solving strategy behind it to get the best solution in an effective/efficient timeframe. I think the strategy and process of problem solving can be lost among some people and they end up throwing darts at a dart board blindly hoping to find the answer. This rarely leads to the correct solution if it leads to a solution at all. It was also surprising to learn how AI uses data collection and decision-making processes to advance and improve.”
Jasmine Powell said, “I really enjoyed the if-then problems in that class. I felt as though I could use those being on Level One Support. This helps me solve day-to-day problems on my cases. Like if the user can’t log in, then it’s probably because they are locked out. If they are not locked out, then it’s a process of elimination. I can solve problems more quickly now.”
Angelica Caddell, a Level One Support employee, took advantage of the Coding class. It was her interest in coding that fueled her desire to work at Avatara in the first place, but she had not yet had the opportunity for formal training. Caddell said that the education she received from McCormick was on par with what her programmer friends have learned at school.
To celebrate the end of a stellar semester and a not-so-stellar year, the coding students had a New Years Eve competition with the robot tanks they programmed in class. There was an eight robot bracket and an eight robot battle royale. Not an event to be taken lightly, Lawrence put on his best Tony Soprano track suit and handled the bookmaking (see proof below).
Folks were allowed to use their points accrued from attending classes to bet on individual matches, and the strategies were fun to watch unfold. There were also 300 points at stake for the coder of the bot that won the bracket, the royale, and the overall. In the end, Ricardo Martin’s robot took the complete victory.
As we kick off a new year and new educational opportunities, we’re eager to dive even deeper into critical topics that help employees further their personal and career goals.