Continuous learning is a huge part of Central’s culture as a company rooted in excellence. Curiosity and collaboration drive innovation and product development throughout the organization.
Nilesh Acharya is Central’s Director of Data Engineering. His team consolidates premium, claims, and billing data and then translates it for use throughout the company.
A passionate lifelong learner, Nilesh credits much of his team’s success to a “never stop learning” mindset. Read on to explore what that means, what it looks like in action, and how this philosophy helps Central reach new levels of excellence.
The Core of Data Engineering: Continuous Evolvement
Data engineering is continuously evolving and includes all the tools, techniques, and theories behind how to best ingest, structure, and ensure the quality of Central’s data. With a focus on data, Acharya’s team must be proactive and flexible in evolving alongside data technology and best practices.
“If we don’t embrace a ‘never stop learning’ mentality, we aren’t positioned to fully support the company,” Acharya says. “To provide the highest level of guidance and insight, it’s critical we understand new things unfolding and evolving across the market.”
“Continuous learning is multidimensional, and our current team represents a robust range of experience. As we continue to grow, we’re hiring new people with fewer years of experience. Regardless of where you fall on the seniority scale, ongoing training increases our collective engineering capacity to deliver more and work smarter.”
– Nilesh Acharya, Director of Data Engineering at Central Insurance
Lifelong Learning Through Internal Training Opportunities
Acharya credits internal training as an effective way to ensure everyone continues learning and growing together. His team highlights potential areas for learning and growth, then tunes into experts sharing the latest on those topics. The recorded calls are made available to new hires via an intern knowledge library.
“By storing recordings and resources in a centralized place, new employees can easily hop in and get started as soon as they come aboard. Having these types of learning tools available is a huge asset and an effective way to support new members of our team who may not be fully versed in every aspect of what we do.”
In addition to their existing skillset, a prospective hire’s enthusiasm for continued learning is a strong consideration when growing Central’s Data Engineering team.
“One of the first things we look at with prospective hires is how their skillset aligns with our overall data engineering goals,” says Acharya. “We consider how their skills fit into the current team and their potential to contribute further when provided ongoing support and learning opportunities.”
This mentality isn’t limited to new hires. Acharya subscribes each of his team members to a training resource library. By understanding individual strengths and opportunities for growth, he notes an increased ability to recommend courses aligned with individual and team goals. This content includes not only technical topics but also leadership and management courses.
“When a lifelong learner mindset starts at the top, it trickles down to the newest hires—and inspires everyone in between. If Central wants to be the top insurtech company in America, we can never stop learning.”
Get insights like this right in your inbox. Subscribe to the Central Blog below.
Measurable Results from a ‘Never Stop Learning’ Mindset
While it’s easy for a company to claim it embraces a culture of learning, that means little without clear deliverables and measurable goals. On Acharya’s team, everyone has a professional learning goal.
“Our senior managers are responsible for facilitating in-house training. Depending on their role, other members of the Data Engineering team are responsible for providing training, mentoring, or simply participating in training sessions. We measure employee annual performance against the successful completion of individual goals, creating a ‘never stop learning’ culture of accountability where everyone understands their role in helping us achieve collective excellence.”
Continuous learning isn’t something Acharya just talks about. He eagerly embraces a lifelong learner philosophy in his personal life, referencing a story about seeing world-famous chess player Garry Kasparov present to a group of General Electric employees.
During the session, Kasparov asked everyone how much GE should invest in continuous learning and growth. The attendees threw out a series of numbers and percentages. He then posed a question to the audience about how much time they invest in themselves. The room fell silent.
“That was an aha moment for all of us,” Acharya reflects. “His point was that personal growth doesn’t just magically happen. It takes a commitment from everyone—and it starts by embracing a culture and ‘never stop learning’ mindset that set us all up to become lifelong learners.”
Influencing Company Culture as a Leader
As Acharya sees it, company leaders are uniquely positioned to influence culture. “I go to the library each week to borrow books on a variety of topics. Whether or not it’s directly related to my job, learning feeds my brain. I love learning and want others on my team to share that excitement. If I read a good article about a new technology, I post it online for my team to review and comment on.”
Even simple acts can spark conversation and learning, leading to others feeling more comfortable sharing and contributing in their own way.
“As a leader, I want to alleviate the feeling that ongoing learning is an extra burden or something to just check off a list. I want to inspire passion, excitement, and connection in ways that help us all get better at doing what we are here to do. Learning is a journey, not a destination. We can never stop learning. It’s never complete. Embracing this mentality helps us be our best.”
Join our team
Sound like a culture you’d like to join? Search our current job openings to learn more about becoming part of the Central team.