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The shortage of programmers, data analysts and other technical professionals is hitting home. The number of unfilled vacancies for technical professions rose dramatically in 2021, as shown in the latest Techniekpact Monitor. A Dutch educational platform offers a retraining method which enables professionals to embark on a new career in ICT.

Over the next few years, Winc Academy, as the education platform is called, promises to bring 20,000 new programmers into the job market. Because the courses offered by Winc are completely online, can be followed at one’s own pace, and include personal guidance, they are easy to combine with work and private life. This, according to Winc, is the weapon to combat the staff shortages in the tech industry.

This method, he says, is unique in that the course packages are a combination of e-learning and personalized instruction, even though the latter also takes place online. “The advantage of online learning is its ease and flexibility, but the disadvantage is that students often miss out on personal contact. The drop-out rate is high as a result,” says Joran van Aart (38), CEO of Winc.

Personal component

The platform, which was founded in 2018, has therefore added a personal compenent to its study method in addition to e-learning. At Winc, students have personal contact with tutors who are themselves developers. Every assignment a student submits is checked and commented on by a teacher via an online connection. As long as a section is not successfully completed, a student cannot continue with their studies.

Fellow students keep in touch with each other through an online ‘community’ if they wish and can also support each other this way. Nevertheless, each student studies at their own pace, depending on when they started and whether they decide to work hard or take it easy.

Not satisfied, money back guarantee

Winc is so convinced of the success of the program that it is offering a job guarantee for those who complete one of the courses. Those who do not find a job after actively applying are reimbursed for their tuition fees. The demand for programmers and other ‘techies’ is obviously extremely high.

Winc offers educational packages that are primarily geared toward beginners. The average student at Winc is 35 years old and has had a career other than a technical one. Some examples of the industries where students come from are hospitality, culture and retail. No specific prior education is required for the courses.

Whether programming is for them, is something that anyone interested can test for themselves by taking a personality test on the website. “Students are able to pass within three months of full time study. Programming is like learning a new language, anyone can do it,” says Van Aart. “All it takes is motivation.”

online cursus
Joran van Aart © Winc Academy

For the time being, Winc offers courses to become a front-end developer, a back-end developer and a full-sack (a combination of front-end and back-end) developer. A fourth course is aimed at those who are interested in becoming data analysts. The courses cost between € 2500 and 3000, the course for full-sack developer is about € 4500. That is considerably lower than other providers, says Van Aart, who himself graduated in industrial design at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The CEO points out that Winc only develops courses for permanent positions in technology that will still exist in 10 years’ time.

Enduring jobs

Winc Academy announced on Wednesday (January 12, 2022) that it has received an injection of $3 million from Rubio Impact Ventures and the Dutch Founders Fund, among others. The online education platform is experiencing rapid development and can use this growth capital to meet the high demand for upskilling and retraining courses in technology. The Amsterdam-based scale-up also increased the number of active students eightfold last year, partly due to the digitalization trend and working from home on account of Covid-19.

Besides the Dutch language, the platform is also available to English speakers all over the world. This means that all study materials and personal contacts between teachers and (fellow) students are in English. Winc wants to use the new investment funding, among other things, to offer the educational method in other languages as well.

Also read about lessons on the basics of programming in elementary schools.

Also, read more about Rubio Impact Ventures, which invests only in companies that have a positive impact on society.