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Liberty Mutual’s TechStart Program: Developing New Employees the Way 2U-Powered Boot Camps Develop Talent

Written by Stephen Eichinger on Oct 1, 2020

Related content: Strategic Partnerships, Outcomes

Hiring top tech talent is a perennial need for businesses large and small, and just as critical for these organizations is developing their newest employees once they’ve been hired.

Fortune 100 company Liberty Mutual, the sixth-largest global property and casualty insurer, has shown its commitment to new tech employee development with its TechStart program. A yearlong, three-phase program for all entry-level tech hires, the TechStart program reflects some of the same principles that animate the 2U-powered boot camps Liberty Mutual hires from, including intensive bursts of tech training followed by project-based work.

With such similarities in learning and design, it’s perhaps only natural that Liberty Mutual would want to hire learners who have completed 2U-powered boot camps—19 individuals to date, three of whom came through the TechStart program this past year. Read on to learn more about the TechStart program and why Liberty Mutual has turned time and again to 2U and its university partners for boot camp-forged talent.

Three Phases

In launching the TechStart program in 2017, Liberty Mutual created a smooth onboarding experience so that every entry-level tech hire benefits from a consistent tech training regimen. That training is divided into three phases—foundational, team, and individual—all of which embody characteristics similar to those of 2U-powered boot camps.

The foundational phase consists of one week of orientation, followed by a monthlong intensive tech training program, which might feel familiar to individuals who have completed 2U-powered boot camps. New employees are placed in a fast-paced, classroom-style training environment where they take their knowledge of various programming languages and frameworks, such as React and Java, to the next level.

During the team assignment, new employees work together in small teams on a project, in much the same way boot camp participants engage in group projects. At the end of the phase, the team presents to senior leadership and stakeholders on their accomplishments and what they have learned, which is exactly what boot camp participants do in front of industry leaders during Demo Day events.

Natalie Landry, a senior campus recruiter for Liberty Mutual’s tech department, is quick to explain how the design of 2U-powered boot camps syncs with best practices in tech employee development.

“What is cool to see with the boot camp model is how the learners think about an idea, a concept, or a business need and then through the projects get it to a place of being a working product,” she says. “That’s definitely a parallel to what they would see in a business environment such as ours.”

In the final phase of the TechStart program, each new tech employee is paired to an already existing tech team at Liberty Mutual whose work aligns with the skills and interests the employee has been displaying throughout the program.

Boot Camp to TechStart

Last year marked the first year that Liberty Mutual began hiring boot camp learners into its TechStart program, and already the company is seeing the value they bring.

“Generally speaking, we’ve seen that boot camp learners might have had another career beforehand, and they're able to take some of that previous experience, bring it to their work here at Liberty Mutual, and offer perspective and professional experience,” says Natalie. “We feel this really diversifies us as a company, and it brings so much to the table.”

Also important to Liberty Mutual are 2U’s partnerships with prominent universities. “We love the way that 2U partners with institutions in areas that we have technology operations. So there's a great synergy in the fact that we have hires coming from programs like the UNH Coding Boot Camp or the University of Washington Coding Boot Camp.”

Reflecting further on Liberty Mutual’s partnership with 2U-powered boot camps, Natalie recalls attending her first Demo Day and being impressed with the boot camp participants’ enthusiasm and talent.

“What stuck out to me was their passion: for learning, for wanting to share what they’ve worked on, and for launching their careers in tech,” she says. “It’s really exciting to see that energy.”

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