Sometimes a helping hand is all you need to get ahead in life.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, I was inspired by my grandfather who became a successful journalist without having a formal college education. Encouraged by his perseverance, I sought out several mentors who steered me in the right direction. One of those mentors, a college career counselor and placement director, changed my life forever. She challenged me to take the AT&T aptitude test my senior year in college, which later landed me a full time position at AT&T. That was 18 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. 

That life experience made me realize the importance of mentoring young talent and encouraging them to realize their potential. It encouraged me to develop a unique way to give college students an opportunity to showcase their tech skills and put it to real use, in the real world. With that in mind, I submitted the idea of an innovation competition among college students into The Innovation Pipeline (TIP), a crowdsourcing tool for employees. With the support and feedback of peers, the AT&T Coding Challenge was born and is now a recurring competition with a mentoring and recruitment component.

Read more from Carlos Guzman in our Consumer blog or learn about the AT&T Coding Challenge from our Innovation Space blog.

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