By using their belief that brilliance is evenly distributed, and sensing that there was an untapped resource, Andela was founded in 2014 with a mandate to assist young developers in improving their skills and providing access to companies that would otherwise not consider employing outside of traditional markets. “Andela is a movement of awesome people that is empowering technology leaders in Africa,” says Seni Sulyman, Country Director for Andela in Nigeria.
There will be a demand for 1.3 million software developers in the next 10 years, and currently there are only 400,000 domestic computer science graduates in the US according to Andela. To bridge the potential job shortfall Andela looked to Africa, home to seven of the ten fastest growing internet user populations in the world.
The Andela model is fairly straightforward. Developers are enrolled in a 4-year programme, during which they are given a laptop, paid a stipend, offered subsidised housing and two meals per day. In addition the developers receive mentorship, technical and professional skills development, and leadership training from senior staff members. The investment made by Andela per developer is around US$15,000.
The programme offers opportunities at grassroots level. There are no formal degree or diploma requirements to apply for a learnership as long as you are 18 years or older, able to commit to the programme full time, and embody the Andela values of excellence, passion, integrity, and collaboration. “One of the key aspects of this collaboration is that everyone involved has a specific role to play, and harnessing their skills they are able to accelerate learning experiences,” says Sulyman. “Passion is also vital as Sulyman states “we all have something that ignites us deep inside.”