How Facebook and Twitter built the best employee training programs in Silicon Valley

March 12th, 2014 / No Comments »

By Max Nisen

Training employees and managers is essential at any company but particularly for startups. Yet many avoid it because it seems too hard or expensive.

“A lot of companies think their employees are so smart that they require no training,” Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz writes in his recent book. “That’s silly.”

Horowitz told Quartz that two companies that do some of the best training are, Facebook, on the engineering side, and Twitter for management. (Andreessen Horowitz has invested in both companies)

Facebook

As of 2007, the company didn’t really train people, Horowitz says.

“It caused a lot of misunderstandings in the product architecture, which caused performance issues, which caused a pretty large crisis in the company,” Horowitz says.

The following year, Facebook began a program led by engineer Andrew Bosworth called Facebook Bootcamp. It’s a seven week on-boarding program for new engineers and project managers. They’re immersed in the company’s code, and start working on projects that end up live on the site within a week of their start date.

But it’s not just about getting people up to speed, Bosworth wrote in 2009—the training emphasizes maintaining high standards, identifying internal leaders that are good at teaching, making sure people have mentors, and letting engineers learn by fixing real problems.

Uniquely, engineers aren’t hired for particular teams at Facebook. Bootcamp connects engineers with teams by exposing them to different parts of the organization. That way they can find a problem or project they like working on that also needs them…….