Millions of employees are leaving their jobs in wake of COVID-19, citing a myriad of pandemic-related reasons including safety, remote flexibility, and shifts in life outlook. However, this mass exodus is more than a COVID byproduct. Prior to the pandemic, employee retention was already a key consideration for employers amidst constant digital disruption — as was the process of keeping employees technologically up to speed. As a result, many workplaces started to explore stronger, more innovative ways of fostering employee development and maintaining an underlying sense of value.
Now, even as the pandemic recedes, this demand has been fast-tracked, underscoring the need for creative, standardized retention strategies and employee development opportunities — especially those pertaining to tech skills, which have become a full-fledged workplace necessity.
Enter Tech Tracks powered by 2U, Inc. — effective means of upskilling employees in a variety of in-demand technical concentrations.
These specialized online programs are designed to train developers and other tech workers quickly and comprehensively, broadening their abilities, instilling role value, and ultimately helping them grow within an organization. In launching Tech Tracks, 2U, Inc. is able to leverage its longstanding experience in online education, offering the chance to level-set teams in cloud computing and advanced front and back end development.
How Tech Tracks Help Companies Upskill Teams — And Retain Them
The current employment landscape for tech workers is constantly evolving, and as a result, technical skills fade in and out of relevance at an increasingly fast rate. In fact, according to Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, around 75 percent of surveyed developers reported that they learn a new technical skill at least once a year to every few months. With much of the world’s workforce still remote, employers are now experiencing unprecedented urgency to keep pace and fill crucial learning gaps.
“Right now, everyone is trying to figure out how to survive,” said 2U Senior Director of Enterprise & Innovation Jeff Boykin. “There is a general timeline of around 18 months where the technology you are using becomes outdated. In these industries, that timeline is shrinking extremely fast, and COVID has put so much pressure on employers in that regard.”
Tech Tracks address this matter through a standardized learning model predicated on accelerated, quality instruction. Employees can hone relevant skills via practical, project-based learning completed in just six weeks, consolidating an otherwise drawn-out process and positioning employers to meet emerging trends with fully realized, up-to-date knowledge.
Unique Employer Benefits
Tech Tracks’ benefits for employers are threefold:
- They standardize the level-setting process for a full team, while providing education on a cohesive skill set, ensuring each employee is receiving a comprehensive, market-driven, university-approved education.
- They offer cutting-edge training for a competitive cost, with discounts available when purchased in cohorts of 20 or more.
- They simultaneously aid both employee retention and acquisition, fostering a culture of proactive development and employee advocacy. Employees test their skills on assignments that simulate real-world scenarios, ensuring they can hit the ground running when taking on live company projects.
With in-demand technologies changing at an increasingly rapid pace (and employee departures following suit), these benefits allow employers to stay competitive and relevant.
Personalized Instruction for Employees
Tech Tracks offer both structure and accountability through a combination of engaging online lessons and 1-on-1 instruction from a dedicated mentor (usually an experienced software engineer with ample experience working with applicable technologies). Personalized guidance lends additional structure to the Tech Track curriculum, giving students the power to seek the exact information they need. These perks are generally missing from other forms of upskilling and ongoing training, such as self-study, traditional asynchronous tutorials, and documentation.
“When you look at the other [tech skill development] options, there is typically a lack of structure and support there for people,” explained 2U Director of Product David Watson. “Other options teach the theory, but not how to use the skills in practice. When employers standardize their workers’ skill sets and employ consistent projects, there is inherent value there for everyone.”
Why 2U Tech Tracks?
Tech Tracks powered by 2U are currently offered in three crucial technical areas, each in partnership with some of the world’s most prestigious universities. These fields were selected, in part, based on their difficulty to learn independently without the right infrastructure, their current level of demand, and their potential application to other relevant focus areas within web development:
- Cloud Computing — Employees will learn platform-agnostic cloud computing skills, gain hands-on experience in serverless architecture and microservices, configure and deploy containerized applications, and explore how to implement CI/CD.
- Advanced Front End Development — Employees will implement standard user interface design principles, configure DNS with serverless hosting, and build front end solutions for scale.
- Advanced Back End Development — Employees will configure Linux servers; implement unit, integration, and end-to-end testing; and examine popular architectural patterns.
While these tracks follow their own curricula, they are built to accommodate employee schedules with flexible learning, while ensuring consistent progress toward completion through dedicated mentor support and weekly check-ins.
“Our Tech Track courses provide employees with structured learning opportunities, including plenty of practice with sample scenarios and hands-on projects,” Boykin said. “Project requirements have been designed with flexibility in mind so that employees can apply their skills to scenarios specific to their company. We expect this will provide additional value to employers looking for ways to align training outcomes with team performance.”
2U’s offerings are built based on current market demand, changing to match emerging trends and skill-based needs — all while implementing parallel feedback from partnering institutions, students, and employers alike.
“[2U Tech Tracks] offer a well-rounded, market-driven curriculum that is constantly evolving,” said 2U Brand and Demand Strategy Director Alison Napolitano. “They are living curricula. We get frequent feedback from all sides — students, employers, and universities — and this means you’re getting the latest instruction and information.” Plus, 2U has had a proven track record in online education for over a decade.
Similarly, the courses were designed with an ever-changing job market in mind; they strive to not only alleviate corporate retention and acquisition pressure, but also to represent a new generation of workers’ best interests and expectations. In turn, this approach helps future-proof companies by eliminating staff churn and making open roles more appealing.
“Today’s employees are looking for companies that are offering this type of growth,” Napolitano said. “They are looking for organizations that will invest in their education. As a company, you want to attract and retain dedicated, lifelong learners that will bring lasting value to your organization.”
Turn Employee Development Into Business Outcomes With 2U Tech Tracks
With 2U Tech Tracks, employers can put their employees in an ideal position to learn advanced, in-demand skills in just six weeks (and for a competitive weekly time commitment of roughly 10-15 hours).
Skilled and satisfied employees are essential to the success of your company. Help your teams increase their technical proficiency in subject areas that matter to your business’s bottom line while investing in their individual development.
Ready to take your team to the next level with Tech Tracks powered by 2U? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.