By Saya Sone, Octo University Dean
At Octo, we believe our most valuable assets are our employees, and if we are to serve our Federal Government customers and our country, we need to invest in the people who make Octo possible. But technology evolves constantly, and our employees are eager to keep up with trends (we are known for our innovation after all). That’s why in June 2020, we launched Octo University, a no-cost program for employees who are motivated to grow, diversify, and practice new skills.
Why Octo University?
The driving force behind Octo University stems from valuing employees who hold strong commitment to our Federal Government customers. Octo has always provided opportunities for our tech gurus to flex their innovation muscles as they serve customers. One of the ways employees learn new skills and increase their value is by obtaining certifications. Our employees’ certifications and increased knowledge add value to us as an employer, and thus we can offer our clients the most up-to-date technology expertise. Because our customers’ missions come first and our employees operate in a service capacity, Octo University strives to:
- Ensure a competent and highly skilled workforce
- Engage Octo’s top notch talent who are eager to learn
- Support continual learning to boost performance
- Drive organizational transformation to increase business agility
More than just a series of classes, Octo University provides a learning environment to empower employees to advance their skills, education, and potential to increase productivity and business agility and bring it back to the customer. Learners enjoy exploring the latest technologies and methodologies in IT, leadership, and management. All classes are conducted so as not to interfere with services provided to the customer.
Trainers and learners succeeding
Octo University’s highly qualified trainers specialize in Agile, cloud, project management, leadership, and other disciplines. For certification preparation, Scaled Program Consultants (SPCs) teach all Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) courses, reputable Amazon Web Services (AWS) certified professionals instruct AWS Certified Practitioner courses, and Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professionals (PMPs) facilitate PMP Boot Camp. All trainers are lifelong learners who refresh and update their knowledge and skills, taking part in conferences, presentations, workshops, and meetups.
Through follow-up, surveys, and analysis, we found Octo University learners put great value on instructors, saying they successfully simulate environments that facilitate learning and increase the ease at which participants practice skills and implement them in the workplace. Since Octo University’s launch and in under six months, instructors have trained more than 250 employees in courses such as SAFe, PMP, AWS, and cloud. More than 150 employees to date have received their certifications after taking the professional exams related to their courses.
Adding value for employees
Octo University learners benefit from a unique, community-centered environment where talented professionals gain knowledge and skills to strengthen and broaden their scope of expertise to help customers meet important missions. This is a no-cost opportunity for all employees. Leaders have the chance to advance their leadership skills; managers learn new processes and tactics applicable to projects and customer needs; marketing, HR, and legal staff gain an agile mindset to align with Octo’s strategies; and IT professionals hone cutting edge technology skills to keep up with industry trends.
Most new hires show high interest in Octo University courses right after they start working for Octo, an indication of the motivated talent Octo attracts. These new hires can sign up for Octo University classes on day one, without any waiting period. After course completion, many industry certification exams are paid for by Octo with no out of pocket expense for employees. Plus, learners later have opportunity to seek advanced degrees at traditional colleges and universities through Octo’s substantial tuition and training reimbursement program.
Octo University staff is eager to help employees advance their knowledge, skills, and abilities, regardless of their background and experience. No matter what program, customer, or clients employees serve, Octo University offers something of value to support professional development. Interested? Explore a career with Octo now and start benefitting from our commitment to your growth. For questions, email OctoUniversity@octo.us.