It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of learning to the success of Cerner, one of the largest health care information service providers in the United States, with $4.4 billion in annual revenues and over 23,000 associates. The company supplies customers with a variety of solutions and services developed and delivered by associates who must be equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge of information systems, software, and industry expertise. Cerner currently has more than 120 learning professionals meeting the learning needs of their associates, all of whom are working to elevate the company’s mission to contribute to the systemic improvement of health care delivery.
Onboarding of new associates has been a key focus area for learning, and software engineering onboarding in particular has been a challenge given rapidly changing technology. In 2012, Michelle Brush, then Software Engineer Velocity Program instructor and now engineering director, realized engineering onboarding needed to be modernized. The company was still training new engineers on outdated systems and tools such as COBOL, Visual Basic 6, and C++ and did not focus much on real projects or challenges faced by today’s software engineers.
Brush implemented an updated onboarding experience for new hires called DevAcademy. The goal of the new approach was to increase engineer code quality, decrease product defects, and improve client satisfaction. Brush also anticipated an increase in participants’ knowledge of their roles, a decrease in the recruiting costs associated with hiring more experienced programmers, and an increase in manager satisfaction of new hires.
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