Nigeria-based developer training school and digital skills outsourcer Andela claims to be the most selective developer school in Africa, and intends to tackle unemployment on the continent by training a generation of highly-skilled young developers – Gabriella Mulligan.
Key to Andela’s philosophy is a rounded approach to its training, with the organisation’s model based on producing world-class full-stack developers as we previously reported. Andela shuns the model it claims most African coding schools follow – focusing on teaching individual niche skills as demand arises.
Once “graduated” from the training phase, Andela employs its developers, and outsources their services to companies worldwide in need to high-quality, low-cost software developers.
Andela claims to recruit the “brightest young people in Africa”, which it does through a combination of online and word-of-mouth marketing efforts, Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Andela tells . Once applications are in, candidates are vetted with only 1 per cent of applicants making it through to join the programme – making Andela a highly selective organisation.
“With a less than 1 per cent acceptance rate, Andela is the most selective tech training programme on the [African] continent. That’s how we find the brightest people,” Johnson says.
According to Johnson, Africa is home to a huge pool of talented young people with the potential to be successful in the global digital economy, however, this potential is often stifled by a lack of access to opportunities. As such, Andela aims to be an “on-ramp” to the digital marketplace.
“Andela is founded on the idea that brilliance is evenly distributed across the human population but opportunity is not. Throughout Africa, there are gifted, driven young people with incredible potential to thrive as software developers and entrepreneurs, but too often they have no way of making the most of their abilities. Andela is offering them an on-ramp to the digital economy,” Johnson tells.
This rounded approach to ensuring across-the-board skills and the exceptionally high expectations of its candidates is what differentiates Andela from other developer schools across Africa, the CEO says.
The value proposition
While Johnson says hiring an Andela developer provides the best financial value forcompanies looking to outsource work – each developer being posted full-time to a specific project, while costing substantially less than hiring an in-house team member -, he points out that this outsourcing of skills is also key to the Andela model – funds made from hiring out Andela developers pay for the training of further developers.
“Andela’s value proposition is that we are, dollar for dollar, the best investment in scaling a company’s engineering team with high-quality remote developers. Companies that hire Andela developers also help change the world for the better. Every time a company hires an Andela developer, they are helping finance the training of another developer,” he says.