After launching its inaugural school of engineering earlier this year and raising pre-seed funding, Nigeria’s AltSchool has expanded its catalog to include data and product schools, responding to the growing demand for these technical skills by youth and employers.
Among the new courses are product marketing, design and management, and data science, engineering and analysis. This is in addition to a software engineering course where students specialize in either frontend and backend or cloud engineering.
AltSchool’s co-founder and CEO Adewale Yusuf told TechCrunch that since launch, the school has received increased interest for the courses it offers, pointing to a growing pool of youth that are keen on careers in tech. To paint a picture of the demand, AltSchool, one of the exhibitors at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022, received 9,200 applications in its initial call, but could only admit about half.
“The year has been great so far; we’ve experienced tremendous growth. We got an exemption from California’s Bureau of Post-Private Secondary Education (BPPE), are on the path to $1 million Annual Recurring Revenue, and we have helped people get jobs in more than seven countries,” said Yusuf.
Tuition at AltSchool costs $30 per month, an equivalent of a dollar a day, making it a learning path that is much more affordable than traditional college options.
The school currently has students in over eight countries across Africa, having recently set up a hub in Rwanda to support its growth beyond West Africa.
For admission, students are required to pass an entrance assessment test, but the online school offers a three-month probation for those that do not meet the metrics in the first round.
Its courses are short, lasting up to a year (including an internship), enabling the school to churn talent out fast enough to meet the market demand.
Overall, the demand for developers is expected to grow especially within the startup ecosystem, which already hires half of Africa’s developers, as more startups are launched or scale up powered by VC funding. Additionally, tech giants like Amazon and Google are scouting for talent in Africa further raising the demand for local developers.
“The demand for technical talent is at an all-time high. And companies are looking outside of their primary market to hire talent. This is a significant opportunity for African countries like Nigeria and Ghana among others, as English is the primary Language, and the time zone is favorable,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf founded the startup together with Akintunde Sultan and Opeyemi Awoyemi in October last year after noticing a knowledge gap among software engineers while running TalentQL, another startup that recruits and manages remote talent on behalf of companies.
They launched AltSchool to upskill these software engineers lacking “foundational knowledge” and to train people making a career switch to technology. The school has partnered with higher learning institutions across Africa to offer diplomas to students.