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Black in Tech: Johnson Ngandjui, Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual

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Our Black in Tech series features the career path & advice from Black professionals in the tech industry. In this Q&A, Johnson Ngandjui, Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual shares his story.

Johnson is a 2021 Hack.Diversity Alum. Founded in 2016, Hack.Diversity transforms the economy by breaking barriers and building access for the next generation in tech. More than 50 companies have chosen to partner with Hack.Diversity to tap into the full potential of the talent landscape and co-design impactful strategies to transform the workplace for all employees. Click here to learn more.

Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work? 

I grew up in Douala, Cameroon, where I spent most of my days outdoors, either playing football (soccer) or exploring with friends. I was always on the move, fueled by a curiosity to discover the world around me. My dad worked as a teacher, imparting knowledge to students, and my mom served as a secretary, keeping things organized and running smoothly.

Where did you go to college? What did you study and what did you do after graduating? 

I attended Salem State University, where I graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics. Following graduation, I embarked on my career journey as a Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual Insurance through Hack.Diversity. My education provided me with a strong foundation in technology, enabling me to contribute effectively to innovative projects at my workplace.

What inspired you to get into the tech industry?

I’ve always been drawn to the endless possibilities and untapped potential of technology. The sheer breadth of what we can achieve with technology never fails to inspire me. As I delved deeper into the industry, I discovered that what I initially thought I knew was merely scratching the surface, and there’s always more to learn and explore. My inspiration stems from witnessing the transformative power of technology and the constant evolution of its capabilities.

Can you talk about your experience as a Fellow at Hack.Diversity?

My experience as a Fellow at Hack.Diversity has been nothing short of transformative. Hack.Diversity provided an environment conducive to my personal and professional growth and played a pivotal role in launching my career as a Software Engineer, for which I am deeply thankful. Moreover, their robust programming and community offer ongoing support and a plethora of opportunities, ensuring continued engagement and success after the Fellowship.

How did Hack.Diversity help you navigate obstacles you had to overcome along the way as a Black professional.

Hack.Diversity has been instrumental in supporting me as a Black professional navigating the tech industry. Beyond facilitating my first internship, crucial for laying the groundwork for my career, they provided networking opportunities and a supportive community to address unique challenges faced by underrepresented individuals. Their ongoing support, including professional development resources and access to an extensive network, empowered me to overcome obstacles and thrive in an industry where diversity and representation are paramount. In essence, Hack.Diversity not only opened doors for me but also remained a steadfast ally, advocating for equity and providing the tools necessary for sustained success in tech.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual?

In my role as a Software Engineer at Liberty Mutual, I am primarily responsible for full-stack development, encompassing the creation of new applications from the database to the user interface. This involves not only building robust and efficient new software solutions but also ensuring the seamless maintenance of existing applications to prevent disruptions for our users. My responsibilities span the entire software development lifecycle, from conception to deployment, as I work to innovate and improve our digital offerings while also ensuring the reliability and stability of our existing systems.

What has attributed to your success thus far and what types of obstacles have you had to overcome along the way as a Black professional? 

Several factors have contributed to my success thus far, foremost among them being a willingness to learn and adapt in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. With the increasing integration of AI and constant advancements in technology, staying abreast of industry developments is essential. My readiness to embrace new tools and methodologies have been instrumental in my professional growth. Additionally, I’ve found that being adaptable to different environments and open to learning from diverse perspectives has enriched my skill set and expanded my opportunities for success.

As a Black professional, navigating the corporate world has presented its own set of challenges. While progress is being made, barriers still exist, making it necessary to navigate corporate structures with resilience and determination.

What types of programs and initiatives does Liberty Mutual have that support diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Liberty Mutual has implemented several programs and initiatives to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion within the company. Notably, they have established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), such as LEADA (Liberty Employees of African Descent and Allies), of which I am a member. These ERGs play a vital role in creating a sense of belonging and inclusivity for employees from diverse backgrounds. Through initiatives like LEADA, Liberty Mutual actively promotes open dialogue and encourages conversations that facilitate understanding and comfort among employees.

While general awareness of the problem of diversity in the tech industry is a step forward, to make a lasting change, real actions need to be taken. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what companies or employees can do to step up and make a difference?

Companies must go beyond gestures and take intentional actions to address diversity and inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry. One innovative approach could involve implementing blind auditions or assessments during the hiring process. By anonymizing certain aspects of job applications, such as names, genders, and educational backgrounds, companies can mitigate biases and focus solely on candidates’ skills and qualifications. This approach not only promotes fairness but also opens doors for individuals who may face unconscious bias.

Additionally, companies can establish partnerships with organizations and institutions that specialize in training and uplifting talent of all backgrounds, thereby expanding their pool of potential candidates beyond traditional networks.


About the

At Liberty Mutual, you’ll help lead our digital transformation to deliver immersive and secure experiences for our employees, customers, agents, and brokers using cloud-native tech, scalable microservice architecture, and next-wave software delivery methods.

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