CodersTrust aims to develop coding skills and experience in poorer countries

by / Tuesday, 05 August 2014 / Published in Personal

In recent years, many people in the technology industry have celebrated online freelancing platforms like eLance and oDesk for their ability to connect people in developing economies with equal access to technology work opportunities from across the globe. These observers have rightfully celebrated these contracting opportunities as a potential source of self-empowerment and social change.

CodersTrustHowever, while the opportunities offered by eLance and other similar sites provide equal access to work opportunities, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the abilities of programmers in developing economies are up to the challenge of handling the type of jobs posted on the site. It now seems that giving developing economies access to work on a global scale was the easy part. Now, in order to truly provide that self-empowerment and social change that so many people have been hoping for, we have to find a way to make sure that programmers in developing economies are actually able to produce high-quality work.

That’s the idea behind CodersTrust, a Danish microfinancing program aims to connect coders in developing economies with educational resources to help them improve the quality of their work.

The founders of CodersTrust clearly recognized the situation facing technology freelancers in poorer countries: for the first time in history, they have equal access to employment opportunities, but the low quality of their work was leading many people to assume that they just weren’t up to the challenge. It’s ironic that something that should have created new opportunities for people in developing countries was actually having the opposite effect: businesses first impressions of programmers from developing economies were usually bad, which in turn was creating the idea that these programmers were not worth hiring.

CodersTrust is trying to address that problem at its source, by allowing programmers from developing economies to improve their skills, and therefore perform a higher quality of work. The program is starting small, working with a group of 100 programmers from Bangladesh. The founders of CodersTrust identified the first group of program participants by going on oDesk and looking for people who seemed to have a good work ethic, and might take the opportunity to improve themselves seriously.

The program will provide its participants with a $2000 loan, which is of course very small in the context of Western capitalism. However, this small amount is often all that’s needed to make a big change in the life of a technology professional from a country like Bangladesh.

The loan will be provided in small increment, based on the participant’s educational progress. For instance, each time a participant passes a new class, they might receive the next portion of the loan, so that they can then continue on to a different class. CodersTrust hopes that over time, as the loan recipients pass more and more classes and gradually improve the quality of the work that they are able to perform, the programmers will be able to take on higher paying jobs on freelance sites like eLance, putting them in a good position to pay off the loan easily, while also opening them up to a lifetime of significantly higher earning opportunities.

It’s also significant that the program is backed by microfinancing royalty: the Grameen Bank, the Bangladeshi organization that is widely considered as the first organization to provide microfinancing opportunities to the poor, will provide the funding for the Bangladeshi test program. Grameen Bank was founded by Dr. Muhammed Yunus, the Nobel Prize winner and microfinance pioneer, so it’s involvement with the project certainly lends CodersTrust a real amount of legitimacy.

While the test program will start small, CodersTrust has plans to expand their reach to over 100,000 technology professionals in different countries within the next few years. The program is certainly ambitious, but even if they don’t reach those lofty goals immediately, I think we have every reason to believe that CodersTrust will make a difference in the lives of technology professionals in developing economies. I believe it will succeed because it empowers programmers to improve their own circumstances. Over time, I think we’ll start to see the gap between opportunity to access jobs and ability to actually do those jobs well to disappear altogether.

Visit Coders Trust to learn more: