For many of Africa's youth, finding solid employment is by far the greatest challenge they face. They lack the opportunities to build a career and a better life that we often take for granted here in the US. Our sincere belief is if they are given the chance to train and work in software development, it would open up a world of opportunities and bring real hope and change for countless across the continent.
Lost Internship Opportunities
For African computer science students, one consequence of the pandemic has been the loss of internship and practical training opportunities due to lockdown restrictions and lack of remote work options. Working with our partners, Botho University and the Botswana and Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), we seek to provide those opportunities through our ACA Engineering Residency Program. The semester-long program focuses on providing hands-on training for software engineering in a real-world remote startup setting.
The Engineering Residency Program
We're planning to run two cohorts of 25 students each for Botho CS students from the Gaborone, Botswana, and Maseru, Lesotho campuses for the first semester of the '21-'22 academic year.
We've got a terrific program for the students!
The first month is Onboarding. We teach various skills and techniques like how to write clean code, communication skills, and continuous learning training. Next is Startup Week, actually a couple of weeks of fun developing, pitching and presenting their startup ideas. Finally, they have the remaining time coding and testing through multiple Development Sprints to deliver an actual product by the end of the program.
In the truest sense of a residency program, we want to teach best practices and techniques in a 'learning by doing' setting mentored by experienced software engineers. This way, the candidates get to learn and practice world-class methods and standards first hand in a high-intensity but low-risk "real-world" environment.
Hiring Local Engineers
Our commitment is to hire (and train) local talent, and we are raising funds for the salaries of the instructors and staff to run the program to be based out of our Gaborone headquarters. Each cohort will have one Lead Instructor and two Teaching Assistants. And we will have a single administrative staff member to manage both cohorts.
Our goal is to raise $31,498 (P350,00) though we hope to raise even more as we'd like to pay higher wages to retain the instructors and continue the program for years to come!