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Learn-and-earn system empowers more to be part of Singapore's tech industry

TechStarter gives tech aspirants an opportunity to be part of an ecosystem where they master skills from US-based coding school Treehouse, then work with industry experts to monetise their newfound competencies

With its guided learn-and-earn approach, TechStarter provides tech aspirants with a sure-footed way into an otherwise intimidating industry. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

In recent years, demand for tech talent has spiked, surpassing supply and driving up salaries, making the profession one of the highest paid in Singapore. 

All industries have to leverage technology out of necessity, and many individuals with no tech background now wish to acquire one. However, many are held back by the risk of making an industry change amid financial commitments and time constraints.

In response to the need for an approachable way to learn tech skills, home-grown tech accelerator TechStarter has launched an exclusive partnership with US-based coding school Treehouse to bring its top-of-the-line coding and tech classes to Singapore. 

Treehouse offers hundreds of courses at a single flat fee that gives full access to high-definition, high-production video classes taught by its team of expert instructors. Tech mastery involves both learning and practice, so each subscription comes with quizzes, code challenges and a personalised coding workspace for practice

Treehouse’s signature pedagogy has helped thousands of individuals with zero tech background land high-paying tech jobs. One of the pioneers in online tech education, the prestigious brand has partnered with the likes of Nasa and HubSpot. Its graduates now work at places such as Nike, Adobe, Verizon and Airbnb.

Mr Brian Polonia, from New York, went from hairstylist to mobile and Python engineer. PHOTO: TREEHOUSE

Users have full control of learning 

By signing up with TechStarter, Singapore users will enjoy the exclusive discount that comes with TechStarter’s partnership with Treehouse. Starting from just $30 a month, they have access to thousands of hours of content and an exclusive coding workspace tailored just for them. Saved in the Treehouse cloud, users can practice anytime, anywhere. 

Those juggling multiple commitments will be happy to know that they can learn whenever and wherever. If needed, subscriptions can be paused and resumed anytime without disrupting course progress.

Treehouse gamifies learning with the use of Badges, which users can earn and display as a testament to their acquired skills. PHOTO: TREEHOUSE

Users can also deep-dive into Techdegree, which is one of the most affordable tech bootcamps available today. 

At only $270 monthly after the TechStarter-exclusive discount, Techdegree helps newbies become job-ready by the end of its comprehensive, rigorous curriculum that comes complete with portfolio projects, workshops and code reviews – all conducted and reviewed by Treehouse’s expert instructors and alumni.

Treehouse CEO Jason Gilmore says: “Our goal at Treehouse is to provide anyone interested in learning coding with a high-quality, user-friendly and convenient option for doing so. This partnership with TechStarter will help provide Singaporeans with a new, exciting option for gaining the skills necessary to enter the tech industry, with the added benefit of having access to a local sales, strategic and support team.”

Mr Joe Consterdine did not have a degree or industry experience, but learnt to code from scratch and landed a tech job in less than a year. PHOTO: TREEHOUSE

To address the limitations of online learning, TechStarter offers a local mentorship programme to complement Treehouse’s education. Mentorship, carried out by local tech veterans, runs alongside the lessons with mentors effectively fulfilling the role of a teacher whom users can turn to for help with challenges they face.

From learning to earning  

In most schools, the journey ends at the last lesson, but with TechStarter, the last lesson actually marks the start of an exciting new chapter.

This next chapter, Launchpad, was inspired by the issues confronting local companies in automating and leveraging technology. Though it’s necessary to incorporate technology to various aspects of businesses nowadays, many struggle with contracting tech talent and companies as these options are often too expensive and disproportionate to their targeted tech requests – especially for smaller companies running on a tight budget. 

Once users have mastered their skills with Treehouse, they can sign up for Launchpad. The mentor-led platform gives users the rare opportunity to immediately monetise their newfound competencies without the stress of hunting for opportunities on their own. 

At Launchpad, users work collaboratively with mentors, producing low-cost templates – such as website themes, widgets, plug-ins and apps – to be listed for sale to the ecosystem’s partner companies. 

Hailing from diverse industries, the list of partner companies includes OIO Holdings, Singapore’s first listed blockchain technology company, and psychology clinic A Kind Place. Partner companies value Launchpad because of the low-cost, fuss-free nature of incoming templates, which focus on enhancements that improve businesses without disrupting key structures. 

TechStarter users enjoy a guided learn-and-earn process filled with perks and benefits. PHOTO: TECHSTARTER

Mentors will also guide users on creating projects with code editors and storing them in GitHub. This helps newly minted tech talents build their portfolio as they monetise their skills. 

Portfolios help to secure opportunities outside of the Launchpad ecosystem, where coding knowledge alone is often insufficient amid the competitive landscape, where companies usually want to see how talents apply their skills in real-world projects. 

TRENDS by TechStarter

Partner companies also worked with Launchpad to formulate TRENDS, a proprietary database that captures the ever-changing tech gaps confronting partner companies in the Launchpad ecosystem at any point in time. Updated regularly to ensure relevance, TRENDS guides potential users on what skills are most in demand and monetisable within the ecosystem. They can also refer to it to make smart decisions about what courses to take at Treehouse. 

Using TRENDS, users can choose to acquire skills that meet the Launchpad ecosystem’s needs, and partner companies have the assurance that tech talent cultivated by TechStarter have the ability to produce templates that truly add value. 

This demand-supply synergy has been helpful to Kazbar, a restaurant known for its savoury middle eastern fare. Its co-founder, Ms Angeles Herrero, says: “Weve been wanting to revamp our website, and as a partner company, well have invaluable access to cost-effective tech solutions to help us do so. We wont have to deal with the expensive hiring costs involved in contracting conventional tech professionals.”

Completed templates are listed on the Launchpad marketplace for partner companies to browse and purchase. Having their pick of affordable, easy-to-implement tech solutions is a welcome alternative to conventional tech hiring. Companies can also enlist talent for longer-term projects or full-time employment if they wish. 

Launchpad users can enjoy exclusive educational content, such as webinars by industry veterans. They will also stand to receive exclusive prizes and personalised rewards. Those with a competitive streak can even take part in Launchpad’s TechTournament: Season 1 sometime in 2022, which offers attractive cash prizes.

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