Introduction to the Problem space
The demand for digital skills training has been growing steadily. The average rate of growth in tech roles range between 20% - 35% annually with data science and software developer roles exhibiting the highest demand.
This has converted digital skills training or education into a commodity.
We are at a point in time where we have the highest number of online materials, courses, bootcamps, social media channels and university degrees for any given educational stream within information technology.
The cost of an average 12-15 week long bootcamp is between USD 15,000 - 20,000.
However, less than 50% of candidates who pass out these bootcamps are job ready. Many take over 2 years to get a break into the industry.
After all the time and capital investment, most bootcamp graduates are taught by professionals or freelancers who might not always have a teaching mindset.
What we end up with are 1000s of young individuals that are either fresh out of college or experienced individuals from a non-tech role looking to make a career charge taking an expensive bootcamp resulting in an even bigger debt and in a confused state as to what went wrong as they expected a bootcamp to be their way into the tech industry.
Individuals coming out of these bootcamps might lack a good mentor, resources that can teach the subject in their manner of understanding, team-working experience in a real-world environment, or even simple job application assets like a resume or cover letter.
What did we find in our Research?
We conducted a user research survey involving 37 respondents and found that 52.8% of respondents were looking for a complete change in their careers and about 11.2% were unemployed looking to enter the tech job market. Another interesting observation was that 61.1% of the respondents were willing to invest between $200 - $ 5000 for a bootcamp and 74.3% of the respondents don’t know of any platform that offers a complete resource guide to apply for jobs in the tech industry.
Results of the survey question, “What is your current employment situation?”
Results of the survey question, “How much are you willing to invest into digital skills education or training?
We were able to validate that people are willing to invest money for digital skills training but only 16.7% were in agreement to spend more than $10000 which is the range in which bootcamps charge for a 12 week program. We could easily identify the cost-value mismatch in the present training model.
Results of the survey question, “Do you know of any platform that brings together all the resources you need to be ready to apply for a job in the tech industry?
How might we.....
help new candidates to the tech industry land their desired roles by providing knowledge, skills-training, mentorship and real world experience on a single platform?
SkillPivot is a platform, where users can easily navigate the stream of their choice to be a developer, UX designer, Product manager or Data-scientist. Clients of the platform can benefit from the following initial features:
• Gain knowledge or skills over a wide range of tacks like specific technical topics, practice challenges and workshops, video courses, etc.
• Guidance on various mentorship platforms depending on stream of choice.
• Guidance on work-experience offering programs and job application assets like a resume, cover letter or a portfolio.
SkillPivot was designed using principles for Edtech platforms which revolved around, Personalization, Flexibility, Collaboration, Ease of navigation and Accessibility. We wanted our clients to be able to customize their learning path depending on their stage of development.
Initially we started with one color theme per layer, but after realizing the sheer number of layers that were involved, we moved to a stream based color theme. Yellow for developer, orange for UX design and two other shades of blue for product management and data science. Overall, we wanted our clients to feel energized and positive while using our platform.
We incorporated a feedback/contact form early in our process so that we could have direct feedback from our clients to make changes and update our content on a regular basis.
We conducted usability tests using our hi-fi prototype and received excellent feedback. The testing method we used was remote via Maze. The prototype test link was distributed in various Slack and Discord channels between candidates of all 4 of our streams.
While Co.Lab has officially ended, we see SkillPivot as an EdTech Startup. The combination of demand for tech roles and the high fragmentation of training resources for any given channel, makes our product very relevant in solving some of the major pain points for our clients. We are looking forward to adding more members to our team and to form an educational board of cross functional professionals to build a truly accessible educational platform that can change the livelihoods of many individuals.
Product Manager Learnings:
- Collected many resources for UX research and UI design ranging from site inspirations to short courses.
- Ideated on simple navigation methods for a desktop platform and information hierarchy models.
- Performed user research and testing to figure out client’s pain points to build a minimal number of clicks to target solution
- Prioritized, pivoted, and adjusted constantly to release an MVP within a short deadline
- Worked also as a project manager at times in collaboration with the project mentor
- Experienced working with a designer and the tools he uses.
- Gained more familiarity with the agile methodology
- Explored my understanding of React framework.
- Collected many online resources for the develop stream of the platform.
- Conducted a thorough analysis of various developer education platforms and courses.
Full Team Learning
- As a team that had to work on an intensive project such as Skillpivot, we were surely stretched between other side projects and full-time work.
- We had the pleasure to connect with an excellent mentor, Debadyuti Roy Chowdhury who gave us a lot of insight about how a Startup works and what it takes to build a successful product. He taught us the importance of scoping down an MVP to get it ready in time and to slowly add additional features as the project proceeds.
- We learned that constant communication could be difficult at times but was key to the success of the project and removing bottlenecks/roadblocks.