Airbnb developed and is running its own university-style program to train its workforce in data science skills, according to TechCrunch.
Dubbed Data University, the goal is to provide Airbnb employees programs that are less general and more tailored to Airbnb’s own data and tools.
More than 500 employees have taken at least one course since the program launched late last year. Since that time, users of Airbnb’s internal data science tools grew from 30% to 45%, according to the report.
Ensuring employees are continually learning new skills is essential to the survival of tech companies today, but courses designed for the general public aren’t always the best fit.
A company that designs its own courses can ensure employees are focusing on the areas most important to the business. But designing training courses is not necessarily easy. Airbnb said it tried to build a program that would fit its needs four times before it succeeded.
Given the shortage of tech workers, there’s growing interest in alternative approaches to recruiting and training today. For example, Apple just released curriculum for a year-long course on how to write apps for the iPhone, according to Axios. The effort is aimed at community college students and the courseware teaches students how to create apps using Apple's Swift programming language.