Andela – the African engineering-as-a-service giant- will be drastically changing it’s approach going forward.
In a detailed blog post, Andela CEO and co-founder Jeremy Johnson shared why the company is shifting focus and what the short term impact of that move will be.
Whilst Mr Johnson maintains his belief that “brilliance is evenly distributed but opportunity is not” it seems where this opportunity lies isn’t exactly where Andela anticipated initially:
Our initial strategy was to identify high-potential talent on the African continent, train them in software development (with a heavy emphasis on remote work and soft skills) and then place them as full-time distributed engineers. We saw an opportunity to build a business while investing in talent creation across Africa, and that’s exactly what we did.Jeremy Johnson
Today, Andela is the most elite engineering organization in Africa, representing over 1500 engineers and working with more than 200 of the world’s most respected technology companies. We’re also on track to nearly double our revenue year over year. As the talent world has evolved, we have as well, and over the past few years it’s become increasingly clear that the world needs what Andela provides: high quality engineering-as-a-service. It’s also become clear, however, that the majority of the demand is for more experienced talent.
As a result of that, we began sourcing and assessing mid-level and senior engineers, and they now represent more than 25% of our talent base.
Andela was mostly training junior developers and thus weren’t filling the actual gaps that need filling – at least that’s what Johnson is saying.
So what happens now that they’ve noticed this? Johnson addressed that too:
Historically, we have viewed our talent supply as being primarily junior with some mid-level and senior engineers. Moving forward, we’ll be shifting our approach to be focused on senior talent, with junior talent layered in on top of it. While nuanced, this shift in focus will allow us to better align with what the market needs, and in the process better connect brilliance with opportunity at all levels.Jeremy Johnson
Unfortunately this shift means that a number of junior developers will be leaving Andela – 420 if we are being exact:
As part of this shift, we have also had to make an extremely difficult decision as it relates to a number of talented junior engineers. Today, we are announcing that we are closing the D0 program in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Moving forward, we will be focusing D0 training efforts on our pan-African hub in Rwanda. In addition, we will be letting go of approximately 250 Andelans in Nigeria and Uganda, with an additional 170 potentially impacted in Kenya, who we don’t believe we’ll be able to find meaningful work for over the next year.
The CEO has shared that the former employees will be enrolled in support programs. He says Andela is partnering with hubs in a number of countries to provide affected individuals with opportunities and they’ve identified 60 companies looking “to hire top quality junior engineering talent”. In addition, these hubs will offer impacted engineers the opportunity to use their co-working spaces free of charge for the next three months.
Andela’s shift is an interesting part of their storied journey and if you’re interested in reading the blog post in its entirety, you can do so here.