Wistia Hires Non-Technical Employees to Learn Code

Andrew Ward
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In workplaces throughout the world, coding is in demand. With that demand comes comfortable salaries. According to Indeed.com, software developers in the United States averaged a salary of $97,000 in July 2014. Then again, that salary might not be as comfortable as it looks when looking at tuition costs.

In San Francisco, Hack Reactor charges $17,780 for just a 12-week semester. That's not too far off from a semester at an Ivy League university. However, when Hack Reactor touts a 99% graduation rate and an estimated graduate salary of $105,000, the ends appear to justify the mean.

Then, there are other companies taking a different approach. As Business Insider reports, Cambridge, Massachusetts' Wistia is one of those making the desire to code work for them and their employees. At the video hosting company, they hire employees with non-technical backgrounds to work in customer support as they learn to code from within Wistia's Code School.

At Code School, eager non-technical employees, including support agents– or Customer Champions, train in hands-on environments that put them in weekly one-hour sessions with developers. A semester at Wistia can run from four to five months, but the training has paid off beyond knowing a valuable skill. Champions and developers benefit from the gleaned knowledge.

Champions now have more confidence in their ability to support a customer, relying less on passing the complaint ticket to the developers. Instead, the champions can assist a customer themselves. This can lead to quicker conflict resolution, increased customer satisfaction and a better working relationship within Wistia's departments.

By learning programming languages and frameworks, the departments are less often passing work off to each other. Rather, they are collaborating on projects and increasing brand knowledge for all involved.

Not all of Wistia's newly trained employees will move into a developer role. However, they are now poised to compete for software developer jobs with the coders that came from the top-flight schools without paying the tuition. Hopefully, this will help several individuals increase their salaries while pursuing a new career field that is in demand.

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