Everyone Codes – Training For Newcomers
In the summer 2016 an idea for action rose in the minds of the everyone codes founders when Vienna was facing the arrival of many refugees from the middle east. Back then Stefan Steinberger, was working as a teacher and had some young refugees in his class. He got closer to them and their families and most of them reached out to him for help to find a job in Austria. He was stunned by their motivation and their will to integrated themselves into the Austrian society. He knew, out of his own experience, that there is a huge shortage of professional software programmers in Austria and companies are desperately looking for qualified engineers. He thought, why not connect those to groups and create a win-win situation. The idea “Refugees Code” was born, but at the beginning they lacked on funding, equipment and facilities. Luckily, they found the Vienna University of Technology as a partner who then provided rooms and equipment. They started to train refugees in software programming with a focus on practical implementation and hands-on engineering to quickly generate a qualified workforce. Already at the beginning, they realized that to keep people learning and moving forward, the community within the learning group was the key and they believe that this is one of their major USP (Unique Selling Proposition) till today.
Time changed and fewer and fewer refugees arrived in Austria, so the demand went down, while the demand for software programmers by the industry was still high. Refugees Code became everyone codes and they opened the door to everyone who wants to get a training in software development. Now they focus on unemployed people and new expats coming from any other country to Austria. Their mission didn’t change and it is still to help people start a new life as software developers. They also succeed where others miserably fail, to motivate women to become software engineers. They currently have 45% women in their course and this number is steadily growing. They have a dedicated gender officer and see a very positive impact in the group dynamic when women participate in the training.
everyone codes sees as their biggest achievement their transition from an idea to a group of engaged people with side jobs to then starting an association and moving forward to found a social business. Founding their own business was important for them to live what they pray. Their biggest lesson learnt is, that they didn’t take enough time at the beginning to better plan their corporate identity, set up their website and team. Over the time they changed their name 3 times, due to a lack of better planning at the beginning and changing requirements over time. In their view, the biggest challenge in Austria for young entrepreneurs are all the little tiny, but very important things you need to run a business, which are not taught in schools and universities. This starts with the right mindset to be an entrepreneur, to then set up a good team and to properly communicate your vision and understand the legal frameworks and laws you will operate in. This continues with proper bookkeeping, financing and writing proposals – no one is preparing you for this in Austria during your general education.
Financing has always been a challenge. They started as volunteers and then acquired some fundings from the state. Their goals were to get the state as their customer, since they work as educators for unemployed people. They managed to do so and now reached a point where they want to expand their income sources. everyone codes still wants to receive money from the state, but not rely on them. They want companies and individuals to pay for their services, since they more and more professionalize them. “Your business needs a programmer? Fund one seat at everyone codes and you will get one in 9 months”.
Stefan Steinberger has a positive view on the current entrepreneur sector in Austria: “Now is the best time to start your business and get moving.”
He would also further embody more entrepreneurship at schools and face students with real life challenges where they have to find their own solutions – just like in the real entrepreneur world.
His message to all young entrepreneurs is: “Spread your idea, tell everyone and don’t be afraid that someone will steal it. Best case you will find your co-founder!”