Celebrating our 1000 Students Milestone!

Co.Lab has officially trained its 1000th student! A journey that started in 2020 is continuing with a brand-new rebrand.

Helen and Sefunmi
August 30, 2023

Back in 2020 we set out with an ambitious goal to solve the catch-22 problem for entry-level tech professionals; needing a job for experience but not being able to get experience without a job. 

We found that other tech training programs out there were mostly theoretical, leaning heavily on frameworks, templates and vague idealistic scenarios of the job responsibilities. 

They didn’t feel very confidence-inducing, very learner-centric. We also couldn’t find any solutions that catered to non-traditional talent, folks like us who didn’t have a conventional background.

The challenge we gave ourselves at that point was to create an alternative. Some way to solve this catch-22. A way for aspiring technologists to experience the role before they got the job. For us, success meant that folks left feeling more confident and capable.

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In September 2020, we graduated our very first Co.Lab cohort. We had set things up as a cross-functional Bootcamp of sorts, working with aspiring product managers, product designers and software engineers. We took these 27 individuals and placed them into nine teams to collaborate and build a product in a few weeks. The results surprised us and gave us confidence that this experiential educational model could work.

Our second Co.Lab Demo Day, December 2020
COLAB3 PMs, Winter 2021

Three years later, we’ve now trained over 1000 professionals in 60 different countries. Some of the products built during our program have transformed into non-profits, while others have formed startups with their ideas. Many others have used it to serve as experience on their resume to land their dream jobs. Our alumni are estimated to have a combined salary of over $75 million as of 2022. Those who have joined our programs to upskill themselves are now building products at top companies like Apple, Google, Amazon and other fast-growing startups across the world. 

Our mantra of You Belong In Tech has impacted those beyond our tight-knit learner community. The stories we share have inspired many to take the steps towards a more fulfilling career path as we consistently preach the importance of thought diversity in the workplace. We envision a world where anyone feels safe to bring their best self and do their best work to build products that improve the lives of others. 

As we celebrate a new milestone in our journey, we face a new challenge that affects not only entry-level talent but also early career professionals. The market landscape is not the best right now. Plus, there is a gap that currently exists between on-the-job requirements and the education available to succeed in any high-performance technical role. This greatly affects those in Product-related roles. While this problem has created intense competition for talent, those without access to high-quality training materials are left at a disadvantage with no straight path on how they can advance their careers. 

Product has always been a foundation of whatever we do at Co.Lab because it’s one of the most important roles in the tech industry. Product people have the power to dictate the customer experience, therefore, determining how the general public will interact with the technological advancements we see today. It’s a great responsibility and a reminder of how essential it is to build products that are fair, free of bias and serve for the greater good of humanity. 

It is why we are doubling down our efforts on Product training - Product Management, Product Mindset, Product Strategy, and Product Development - moving forward.

Helen and I are incredibly excited about this new direction because it enables us to accelerate the impact of providing product professionals with the confidence they need to succeed in their roles.

And ultimately, our vision remains the same. Technology impacts a global audience, and we at Co.Lab will give people from all walks of life the real-world, practical experience to confidently break into (and thrive within) the tech industry. We want to spark action, enable folks to learn by doing, and celebrate achievements as a true collective.

Thank you to everyone who has come with us on our journey so far. It still feels like day one for us, and we’re excited to bring this new vision to life. 

Special shoutout to our previous students and mentors, for leaving us these messages and being supporters from day one:

Biyanka Datta, Senior Product Manager at Openlane
Greg Mena, Instructor &  Accessible Technology Founder
Gabby Larios, Product Manager at Pendulum
Ankur Biswas, Product @ Microsoft, Top Co.Lab Mentor
Aniththa Umamahesan, Senior TPM @ Amazon, Top Co.Lab Mentor
Katherine Chong, Startup Product Leader, Top Co.Lab mentor

We will be publishing an entire list of our all-time Co.Lab Top Mentors and Alumni on our LinkedIn page. Connect with us so you don’t miss out on the announcements.

You Belong in Tech,
Sefunmi, Helen and the Co.Lab team

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