Ericsson C++ Competence Center

Programming Excellence for Ericsson C++ Competence Center

Company:   Ericsson
Solution:   C++ Certification Test
Industry:   Telecommunications
Company size:   100,000+ employees

Challenge
  • Pre and post-competency evaluation process
  • Measurement of the effectiveness of the training program
  • Gauging the effectiveness of a training program
  • Gauging the competency of a trainer.
Summary

The world of technology was revolutionized with the release of C++98 in 1998, and by the time a new version of C++ standard was published in 2003, every technology-oriented organization could clearly see the long-term advantages of keeping in its ranks C++ proficient programmers. In this new technology-driven environment, which was taking the world by storm, attempts were afoot to standardize programming languages such as C++ so as to utilize their full potential.

Ericsson runs a C++ learning program at their training facility in Dublin, Ireland. When it wanted an online solution to augment the potential of its programming resources graduating from this training facility, it teamed-up with ExpertRating for the creation of a customized C++ language certification based on their curriculum and testing norms. The ExpertRating team created an in-house C++ certification test for Ericsson engineers, fully covering all requirements of Ericsson.

Client Overview

The talented minds that drive Ericsson believe that the world is poised for an explosion of innovation opportunities across industries, public services and in private life. They are convinced that the days of the information society are numbered; the shift has started towards networked society—the primary concern in this brave new world is no more regarding access to information, but what benefits one can draw out of it.

Integral to Ericsson’s vision of a new world is its grand idea of 50 billion connected devices as a starting point for new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. The result will be: simplified processes; higher productivity; and real-time information allowing quicker, more informed decision-making or problem solving and monitoring.

Ericsson does business with the vision of being the "prime driver in an all-communicating world" through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. The networked society changes the logic of how society works and for Ericsson the opportunity is ripe for it to take the lead in enabling this. This clarity of vision, among other things, is the reason why Ericsson is today the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators.

Background

Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on the Stockholm and NASDAQ stock exchanges. Today, it enjoys presence across 180 countries and is a market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies—with more than 30,000 patents—and supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 195 million subscribers worldwide.

The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony-Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices—40% of mobile calls are made through Ericsson systems.

Human Resource Needs

Ericsson is a truly global company: 168 nationalities and 193 languages find representation in its workforce. Additionally, the company aims to have 30 percent of its entire workforce composed of women employees by 2020—the current figure being around 22 percent. This inclusive diversity taps into the best of global talent, fosters innovation, and brings differentiated value for customers, employees and shareholders.

With a scale of operations as wide and a workforce as diverse and large, the need for constant training is strong. With Ericsson being engaged in the development of languages like Erlang, hiring of programmers specializing in C++ is of prime importance. C++ Specialists are hired for departments and initiatives like Evolved Infrastructure Development organization, PDU, EI, IMS (DUCI), BNET and BMUM Business Units.

Software developers and engineers are entitled the responsibilities of producing and documenting high-quality C++ software products from inception to delivery for the telecommunication industry. Ericsson also encourages contests and championships to tap and encourage the best of programming talent. In line with its need to stay ahead of technology, many of the training facilities at Ericsson train their engineers via targeted learning programs. The C++ learning program at the training facility in Dublin was one such initiative.

Challenge

Ericsson had already set up a C++ Competency Center at Dublin, Ireland, which ran training programs for their programming workforce. The curriculum at the Center was designed to provide a cutting edge to the workforce, which was envisioned to be the harbinger of new technology, products and services. This training program, however, lacked of a pre- and post-competency evaluation process, and it was difficult to measure the effectiveness of the training program.

A pre- and post-competency evaluation process not only serves as a useful metric to gauge the effectiveness of a training program but also the competency of a trainer. The challenge, therefore, was to introduce pre- and post-competency evaluation and make it an integral part of the charter of the Competency Center at Dublin, Ireland. The solution had to connect several aspects of employee development such that it paved the way for new insights and new solutions.

Solution

ExpertRating—one of the earliest companies to have in place an ISO 9001-2000 (now ISO901-2008) certified process for development and delivery of skill assessment instruments—was to design and develop a system by which a C++ competency test, based on Ericsson's own curriculum and testing norm, was to be delivered to the participants of the training program. Leveraging its vast network of subject matter experts, ExpertRating, engaged the best resources to design, develop and deploy a solution tailoring it around the requirements set by Ericsson.

ExpertRating programmed the solution to deliver pre- and post-competency assessment to the participants. The administrator of the competency evaluation drive was able to administer tests to the test taker before and after the training. The solution was scalable and had had the capacity to conduct 100 concurrent tests, which were conducted in a proctored environment held in a testing center premises.

The solution had an inbuilt reporting feature: the reports were saved within the system and could be retrieved anytime. The solution also captured the information related to different training campaigns, trainer and personal information of the participants.

Technologies and Systems

The software operating system deployed by ExpertRating.com is Windows Server with an SQL Server. The client-end application offered a compatibility with all Web browsers.

ISO 9001:2008 Certification

ExpertRating has been accorded ISO 9001:2008 certification by TUV America for its testing and training methodologies and procedures. The process also encompasses up-time service monitoring and timely detection of outages.

McAfee Certified Website

Services to Ericsson were catered through the ExpertRating.com website, which is a McAfee Secure website. The McAfee SECURE trustmark only appears when the website has passed intensive daily security scans. McAfee tests for possible personal information access, links to dangerous sites, phishing, and other online dangers.

Benefits

Pre- and post-competency assessment filled a big lacuna in the training initiative at Ericsson; the charter of the Competence Center now had a holistic approach to training. The assessments (pre and post) provided valuable insight for re-aligning the training program. The effectiveness of the training witnessed a significant improvement. Enhancements were easy to introduce as the gaps were clearly visible. Concrete evidences were now available for the appraisal of the trainer, training curriculum and the outcomes of the initiative.

Going Forward

As of 2014, Ericsson Dublin is hiring Senior Software Development Engineers to take part in developing the next generation TV solutions joining the recent Microsoft Mediaroom acquisition. This opening is part of a major investment by Ericsson Mediaroom with an exciting multi-year project to develop a ground-braking family of next generation TV products. The job specification for such Senior Software Development Engineers includes, besides others, excellent software development skills and knowledge of in C++, further underlying the importance & need of the C++ Certification Test.