Continued learning is at the core of our innovation at AT&T. It’s what inspires us to explore better solutions and set new industry standards – and for Miranda Bradley, finding an organization that shares her passion for skill development was a top priority. As a participant in our Technology Develop Program, she combines her interests in the arts and technology while making an impact in the ideation community. Meet Miranda and hear what she has to say about her experience here at AT&T.
Please introduce yourself and the role you have at AT&T.
I’m Miranda and I’m a developer here in the Technology Development Program. My role in TDP is to work on client and department needs. I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects—from data visualization to web development to alert systems. I’m also an active part of the ideation community, regularly proposing patents and project ideas. As someone who has education of both the arts and technology, I’m passionate about how the two complement one another. I’m a bit of an evangelist on the importance of good UX practices and am actively finding ways to improve our processes internally.
What drew you to a career at AT&T?
There were a few things that initially appealed to me about AT&T. The first was the attitude of encouragement toward learning. Not only are there a ton of resources for furthering your knowledge, but time is intentionally set aside for it. The second was the relocation opportunities. There are several offices around the country and TDP employees are able to relocate to a different center with ease. As someone who would love to experience different cities, this was a huge draw for me!
How has AT&T supported your growth during your time in TDP?
The TDP program is built as a place for growth. As someone who came in with a mixed background of art and computer science, there were some holes in my knowledge that I wanted the opportunity to fill in. TDP allows you to set aside 20% of your time for training, and I’ve been getting my hands on all kinds of topics. Additionally, in my spare time I’m working on an Udacity Nanodegree, which AT&T reimburses after completion. I’m loving the chance to learn while having the chance to put what I’m learning to practical use. There’s no better way to gain skills!
The reasons employees are attracted to AT&T as an employer of choice are as diverse as our employees themselves. What has been your favorite part about your life at AT&T in TDP?
There are various groups celebrating and supporting diversity. In the past year I’ve been a part of 3 STEM mentoring events—something that’s very important to me. AT&T sponsors the Girls Who Code summer camp in several locations and this past year I served as a mentor. We also have a lot of participation in the We Teach Science program, where I’ve worked through the school year as a one-on-one mentor for a student struggling with math. There are countless other efforts going on and employees are empowered to host their own events for causes they’re passionate about. For example, Trade THEM for STEM was an event started and run by a smaller group of employees and focused on Atlanta communities. The program recruited and ran a hackathon for middle school-aged students to create an application themed around anti-bullying.
The work-life balance is also pretty phenomenal here.
Thinking about what’s made you successful in your role, what’s your best advice for a college student preparing to get into the field and looking for internship opportunities?
Make personal projects and highlight them in your interviews! Companies want to see that you’re passionate about what you do. Having a way to show that you are learning and creating outside of the classroom shows that you’re self-driven and genuinely interested. Be able to talk about your goals for each personal project that you created and how you overcame hurdles.
Do you have any advice or tips for current STEM students or those contemplating a STEM-related degree or career?
Immerse yourself in what you’re trying to learn! Participate in hackathons, work on projects just for the heck of it, ask lots of questions! Technology is a massive field and you will never know everything there is to know about it. At work, you will at some point run in to a project that requires a skill you don’t yet have—so, having worked on different things gives you a way to prove that you can be put in a challenging environment and work your way through it.
Do you have any additional advice for students that might be helpful?
Don’t get intimidated. There’s a saying I love, “Everything is easy once you understand it.” Whatever that thing is that you’ve been putting off learning because it seems like a huge impossible beast—dive in! The only real question is how long it will take before you understand it, because you definitely can. When I was in school, any time I ran into something that seemed intimidating and alien, I would make a point to write it down, then come back to what I’d written—after I’d worked through it and understood it. Having specific examples of times when I went from “What the heck is that?” to “This is actually simple!” helped me gain confidence in tackling difficult topics.
Want to make your mark in the world of STEM? AT&T provides you with the resources and support you need to do it. Get started, innovation awaits!