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Empowering the Next Generation: How Daugherty’s Access Point Program and HackerRank propel Early Career Success

Written By Tanvi Sharma | June 13, 2024

Empowering the Next Generation: How Daugherty’s Access Point Program and HackerRank propel Early Career Success

In the latest episode of HackerRank Radio, Ben Stollard, General Manager at HackerRank, hosts two dynamic leaders in the tech industry—Jayson Vincent, Division Leader of Software Architecture and Engineering at Daugherty, and Maurice Mahone, Access Point National Program Director. Their conversation explores the groundbreaking work at Daugherty and the transformative power of the Access Point program.

Meet the Experts

Jayson Vincent brings over six years of experience at Daugherty and 16 years at Boeing in software architecture and engineering. He also serves as the National Director of Technology and Education Deployment for Access Point, working alongside notable colleagues like Maurice Mahone and Ron Daugherty.

Maurice Mahone has been with Daugherty for five years, overseeing the Access Point program. His extensive IT background includes roles at Monsanto (now Bayer), MasterCard, and the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. His passion for STEM and workforce development is evident as he shares his journey.

Empowering the Next Generation: How Daugherty’s Access Point Program and HackerRank propel Early Career Success

Daugherty’s Unique Approach and the Birth of Access Point

Maurice described Daugherty as the largest IT consulting firm in St. Louis, partnering with companies to deliver business solutions and provide expertise for large-scale projects. Daugherty’s collaborative efforts have helped major clients like Royal Caribbean and Southwest Airlines enhance their operations.

The need for consistent, progressive learning and tracking for AccessPoint candidates led Daugherty to partner with HackerRank. Maurice highlighted how HackerRank’s ability to monitor and report on apprentices’ progress made it an ideal solution, providing transparency and satisfaction for both trainees and employer partners.

Jayson added that HackerRank’s customizable challenges and insights have been invaluable for Access Point. The platform’s ability to offer real-world experience and feedback has been crucial in preparing candidates for their roles. He emphasized the importance of transparency, collaboration, and visibility in the program, ensuring that each candidate receives the support they need.

The Genesis and Goals of Access Point

Access Point was born out of discussions within the CIO Alliance, where CIOs from major companies in St. Louis highlighted workforce development challenges. The lack of diversity in IT, particularly among African Americans, people of color, and women, was a significant issue. Access Point aims to address this by targeting high school students and providing specialized training in collaboration with St. Louis Community College.

Access Point’s unique approach includes providing college credit for training, offering soft skills and professional development, and guaranteeing job placements for successful graduates. Maurice noted that this model ensures students have jobs waiting for them, contingent on their performance.

Jayson elaborated on the program’s holistic approach, emphasizing the importance of addressing individual student needs. The hypercare program, led by Christy Miller, supports students from start to finish, overcoming challenges that might hinder their progress. He also highlighted the program’s focus on diversity and the value of different perspectives in creating the best products and services.

HackerRank’s Impact 

The integration of HackerRank into Daugherty’s Access Point program has been a game-changer. Jayson and Maurice emphasized that HackerRank’s tools have provided a structured and scalable way to assess and develop technical skills among candidates. The platform’s extensive library of challenges, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, allows for tailored learning experiences that align with the needs of Daugherty’s partners.

One of the standout features of HackerRank is its ability to simulate real-world coding environments, which helps students transition smoothly into their roles. The platform’s comprehensive feedback system enables rapid skill assessment and development, ensuring that students can continuously improve. This feedback loop is critical for maintaining high standards and preparing students for the demands of their future jobs.

Jayson highlighted how HackerRank’s plagiarism detection feature also serves an educational purpose. By identifying and addressing instances of plagiarism early, students learn the importance of integrity in their work, a lesson crucial for their professional growth. This feature, combined with the rigorous challenge sets, helps in creating a culture of honesty and hard work among the students.

Furthermore, HackerRank’s interview tools have been instrumental during the apprenticeship phase. These tools allow mentors to conduct live coding interviews, providing immediate, practical feedback and coaching. This hands-on approach not only reinforces learning but also builds confidence among the students as they prepare for their careers.

Maurice shared that Access Point students completed around 4,000 HackerRank tests last year, reflecting the program’s intensive use of the platform. The high engagement levels and positive feedback underscore the effectiveness of HackerRank in supporting the program’s goals. The ability to create custom challenges tailored to specific skill requirements of their partners further enhances the relevance and impact of the training.

HackerRank truly has been highly respected and appreciated across all the different company partners that we work with as we show them the nature of the questions and challenges and the insights that are available and the varying degree of difficulty of the challenges as well as the opportunity to add custom challenges.

Apprenticeships: Bridging Training and Real-World Experience

The discussion then shifted to the apprenticeship aspect of Access Point. Maurice explained that while comprehensive training is essential, real-world experience is irreplaceable. The apprenticeship phase allows students to apply their skills in a corporate environment, with continuous monitoring and feedback from partners.

Jayson detailed how HackerRank supports this process by offering a vast library of challenges and the ability to create custom tasks. This ensures that students receive relevant practice and feedback, helping them reach proficiency. The interview feature in HackerRank further enhances this by enabling live code reviews and coaching sessions.

Measuring Success: Impact and Metrics

Maurice proudly shared some impressive metrics: Access Point has placed 75 students into apprenticeships and full-time jobs, generating approximately $4.5 million in revenue for the St. Louis region. These students are not only gaining employment but also making significant life changes, such as buying cars and homes—truly showing the impact and requirement of the program.

Jayson highlighted the value of HackerRank’s tools in providing quick feedback and supporting continuous development. The platform’s ability to handle a high volume of tests and offer a wide range of challenges has been instrumental in maintaining the program’s effectiveness.

If you wish to know more about the Access Point Program, visit here, and to know more about Daugherty, visit here.

To watch the full podcast, head to HackerRank Radio.


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