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Katie Alvarez

Business Manager, Technology Development Program, Emerging Technologies
AT&T
Featured

As part of AT&T’s Technology Development Program, Katie splits her time learning about the latest technologies in computer science and working on side projects in the virtual reality space.

What brought you to AT&T?

After graduating from college, I worked at a tech startup as a quality assurance analyst. I loved the fast-paced environment, and it was like a crash course in computer science. I had never touched code in my life before, and three weeks into my first job I was asked to build a prototype. My education was in political science, and I was surprised by how much I loved problem solving in computer science. At the time, I had a friend who was working at AT&T’s Technology Development Program (TDP) who described the collaborative and innovative culture. It sounded a lot like the energy of a startup, but with countless resources and opportunities to learn about the tech field. The program provides 18 months of training in software development and project management in the latest technology. I interviewed and was accepted into the program shortly after.

What surprised you the most when you first joined?

I was surprised by how much community outreach AT&T is involved in. There are countless employee resource groups dedicated to different causes. For example, one of our committees is driving programs to encourage girls' interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This September, we are planning an interactive presentation for middle-school students on the different opportunities they will have if they pursue their interests in STEM. As a woman in the technology field, I think it’s important to share these stories with the next generation of scientists, programmers, and engineers.

Describe how innovation plays a part in your work. The Innovation Pipeline (TIP) is just one example of innovation at work at AT&T. This is a crowd-sourced platform where employees can submit, or “upload,” ideas that they’ve been working on. If enough people vote on a given idea, it is submitted to leadership, or “downloaded,” to be developed as a prototype, product, or service. It’s an amazing way to crowd-source creative ideas and drive the future of the organization.

Any cool projects that you’re working on?

At AT&T, I can spend 20% of my time working on side projects. I’m currently splitting that time between two virtual reality projects. We’re working on renovations in our office, and I’m part of a team that’s building a virtual reality tour of the new space. My role has been in modeling and texturing, both areas I had no prior experience in. What’s great is that AT&T has so many resources for you to learn new skills - whether it’s online classes or peers in different departments. “Emerging technologies” is part of my job description, and the way I’m able to jump into these kinds of projects really makes it feel that way.

What do you love most about working at AT&T?

Besides the people, I love that I can shape my career. When I graduated from college, I felt like I had to choose a certain path, but at AT&T you can build and grow in whatever direction you want.

Some interesting facts about AT&T

AT&T is one of the largest employers in the country, with employees in all 50 states and in 60 countries.

AT&T manages the nation's largest Wi-Fi network at popular restaurants, hotels, bookstores and retailers.

AT&T offers voice coverage in more than 225 countries, data roaming in more than 210 countries with 3G in more than 170 countries.

AT&T has more than 120 million wireless customers.

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