The panelists and the main theme of this conference: Australia's tech skills gap.

Holberton School Australia launched with a conference “Solving Australia’s TechSkills Gap”

Monday, 22nd of November, a virtual conference was organized to officially celebrate the launch of Holberton School Australia, with a first campus in Melbourne meant to welcome students for cohort 17 which will begin in January 2022. Attendees had the opportunity to take part of discussing tech and the future of education in Australia, including the needs and the skills gap the country is facing.

The panel included Julien Barbier our CEO and co-founder; Chris Venter, CTO of REA Group; Mark Geraghty, Executive General Manager at RACV; Simon Noonan, CIO and Executive Leader at Sportsbet.

About the aim of Holberton School

Our CEO Julien Barbier shared his experience, and how he got to co-found Holberton, Inc. in 2015: a huge lack of talent in the industry, a strong lack of diversity, and a disconnect between universities’ programs and the actual need from the industry. These challenges were also a huge opportunity to create better and more inclusive education, solve the need for the industry and create a positive social ladder for everyone willing to put the work in.

So he decided to launch a school that would deliver high-quality education, but also that would be built for everyone, no matter their past experience, or where they came from. A school that would welcome those who don’t fit the mold of the current education system. So that everybody could learn what was really needed, the curriculum would have to include hard skills, but also soft skills which were not emphasized enough but are so needed in today’s world.

Because we are entering the 4th industrial revolution, the pace at which everything changes is unprecedented. The consequence is that nobody knows what are going to be the jobs of tomorrow. So this was also a huge focus when putting together the Holberton education system: students need to learn how to learn in order to make sure that our students will always be able to adapt to any kind of new technology and could apply to any tech job they want.One of the points highlighted about the school was the international community, and that every student is linked to students from other schools around the world. As they often work remotely in their career, Holberton School students are prepared for this.

About Australia’s tech skills gap

In Australia’s case, it’s more about the lack of entry-level software engineering talent. Emmanuel Goutallier, the co-founder of Holberton School Australia noticed that this lack also came from an aging generation of software engineers, not well-trained enough, and not always able to work in a fast evolving environment.

With only 17% of total enrollments completing university courses (according to the Australian Government STEM Equity Monitor), we’re not seeing sufficient numbers of people joining the industry in Australia and this lead to a digital skill gap, estimated in excess of 150,000 tech jobs by 2025 (source: RMIT).

But now the new generation is ready to learn and to be taught and the arising opportunity to train them mustn’t be lost. A first campus will be settled in Melbourne and a second one hope to be opened in Sydney to bring learning facilities and education to the most. The goal is to equip 100 Australians in 2022 and 3,500 total trained students over five years with top tech skills and knowledge.

Skills need to be built, not bought. And the Holberton Way is delivering the right solution for this. “The industry demand for skilled engineering talent is at an all-time high. More than ever, we need to be able to develop and grow diverse talent. We are so excited to see the Holberton school starting up in Australia. Its structure and model for learning and preparing its students for industry is exactly what we need” Said Chris Venter.

The final word was given by Emmanuel Goutallier: “Holberton delivers an alternative way to help solve the challenge” and we all hope that students will find in this school a safe place to learn, develop and improve their skills, and become efficient professionals, that can easily adapt to any situation and solve the problem with their colleagues as a team or by themselves.

What an adventure!