Andela, a start-up based in the city of New York that has collaborated with some of the big tech giants like Facebook and have attracted the attention of some big people like Mark Zuckerberg and is currently working with many huge blue-chip companies such as Master Card.
The main aim of the company is to spread the education across the continent in order to bring faster economic development and money-making opportunities for the people in Africa. They wish to build a talent filled pipeline of African software developers that can assist the companies in the United States as well as other parts of the world, and thus connect to the global digital economy.
Andela came into the picture in the year of 2014, with the simple idea of nurturing the talent pool of Africa. They recognized that there are many smart brains in Africa, however, they lack proper guidance as well as preparation to bag good paying jobs. Andela tries to get these jobs to these smart people, but in the field of software development. As per Jeremy Johnson, the chief executive officer of Andela, the company offers the people, “a very different model for unlocking human potential.”
Not only the company has taught people the basics of coding, more than 20,000 programmers across the continent are already using their free learning tools to earn money. They plan to grow their pool to 100,000 people by 2024, thus creating thousands of jobs and opportunities for the people to improve their life status.
However, you will have to pay some amount for the initial training of six months, after which you become a part of the software development teams of any one company in their current roster. The present roster consists of 112 companies or customers which also include some big names like Master Card Labs, Viacom, SeatGeek, and GitHub (all US divisions). Apart from the US, Andela also has companies and customers from around 10 other countries as well.
The start-up has been expanding at a high rate and Seni Sulyman, a graduate of Harvard and also the country director of Andela in Nigeria says, “This is a platform for giving people who want to learn and succeed access and opportunity,”. Another developer from Africa who works in a Google program says, “Andela has delivered on its promise so far, but can it keep finding high-quality talent and relevant employment for them as it gets bigger?”. Well, we think definitely yes.
Chan Zuckerberg initiative, that was launched back in 2015 by Mark and wife Chan Zuckerberg, was formed with the idea of putting most of their revenue from Facebook in advancing the human potential as well as promoting the equality. Not only that, last year when Mark visited the Lagos office of Andela, he told the employees that they are part of “something that’s really important” and more than a job.
Chan Zuckerberg along with the Spark Capital became the first big investors of Andela. It was followed by CRE venture Capital, a company based in the city of Cape Town South Africa, which is also the lead investor in the company with more than $40 million invested, said Paul Taukobong, one of the founding partner of CRE venture Capital.
The company started with six people, three of which were Africans, a Canadian and two Americans. Their initial class consisted of only 4 students which have now grown to 800 people. They are expecting this number to double itself by the end of 2018. Their main office or headquarters is in the city of New York and there is a small office in San Francisco as well. But most of their workers are in the offices of Africa which are spread in Lagos, Nairobi, Kenya and in Kampala, Uganda.
However, getting selected is not easy as it might seem. The applicant needs to go under a dozen of tests as well as drills that assess everything, from their technical skills to their personality. After this, only 3 percent of the total applicants make it to the two-week boot camo and finally even less than 1 percent people are accepted.
After you get into the training program, the selected individuals get a MacBook to code, two meals in a day as well as housing for six-month training. Looking at it financially, for each developer, Andela invests almost $15,000. It is possible that the developers might start with low salary after the training, but keeps on rising and might even touch $30,000 as they become more professional as well as experienced.
Andela offers the contract of two years to all its developers, but at the same time, they also encourage them to go out and start a company of their own. The average age of the developers working in Andela is just 25 and almost 70 percent of them possess a computer science degree.
Andela signs the developers for two years, but they expect them to stay for longer period of time. It is a part of the business model they say as the work of the developers for other companies help them in bringing new people on board and pay for their training. Till now, they have 98 percent retention rate of developers which is pretty great.