Unlike in the past years, there is currently a significant focus on tech talent development. The focus has completely shifted from the entry-level training talent that it used to be to training senior talent. Undoubtedly, one of the significant reasons that necessitated this shift is the inability of the local education system to produce qualified and competent engineers who are well-trained and schooled to deliver the best services. This is the vacuum AltSchool African has come to fill.
With the understanding of the present need and circumstances, AltSchool African raised over $1 million in pre-seed funding to address that issue.
Prominent Nigerian entertainers and investors have keyed into this opportunity and are now making headway in the industry. Investors like Olugbenga GB Agboola; the founder of Flutterwave, Shola Akinlade, the founder of Paystack, and likes of Folarin Falana (Falz), Akitoye Balogun (Ajebutter), ODBA VC, Nestcoin, Pledges, and many more are part of prominent people and establishments that are maximizing the benefits of the platform.
Launched in October 2021, AltSchool came with a clear and straightforward mission to enlighten and equip students with skills and get certified within a year. This mission attracted the likes of the management of Micheal and Cecilia Ibru University. Under this partnership, graduates get a diploma certificate at the end. To achieve this, AltSchool teaches participants for nine months, followed by a three-month internship.
AltSchool was launched to provide significant support to the tech ecosystem, allowing individuals to pay the interested participant’s application fees. That has been able to produce over 8,000 enrollees from over 20 countries, including African countries.
Like another tech firm that focuses on providing tech skills, AltSchool adopts an income-sharing where students don’t have to pay school fees until they are gainfully employed. Notwithstanding, they may be required to pay an application fee of #10,000 ($20).
Part of the courses that students include product design, product management, and product marketing. AltSchool’s School of Engineering offers frontend, backend, and cloud engineering. And graduates will work with real-life projects where they will get practical experience.
“We’ve signed up some of the best startups on the market, and that’s one of the most exciting things about what we’re doing,” he says
Nigerian musician and rapper Ajebutter (seated) with CEO Adewale Yusuf
As African startups have witnessed massive growth in the past few years, the demand for competent software engineers has risen. However, from an initial focus on building a pipeline of technical talents, much of the conversation now borders on how to get more senior talents.This is a side effect of less attention being paid to entry-level talent. Consequently, startups on the continent have a hard time finding entry-level talent. Fortunately, startups like AltSchool, Gebeya, and Decagon ensure a somewhat steady supply of talent for the ecosystem.
In 2014, Andela, arguably the pioneer for software engineering training, was launched. In addition to training participants, it also placed them in jobs with partner companies.
The model looked to be paying off, but a demand for more senior engineering talents caused the company to re-evaluate its business model. In the process, it gradually laid off junior developers on its payroll before transitioning to a talent outsourcing company.
So, why is AltSchool working on training entry-level talent when more established players are focusing on senior engineers? As Yusuf rightly points out, you can’t have senior engineers without junior engineers.
As more companies are founded in Africa and the talent competition increasingly gets global, more engineering talent will be needed. However, to keep up with demand, more startups like AltSchool will be needed.