TechLabs Recap 2018 & Outlook 2019

As TechLabs turns one year today, we at TechLabs would like to say thanks to you and all other partners who have supported us in providing tech education to more than 130 young people this year. A lot has happened within the past 12 months. And we feel that the time has come to give you an update on our favorite moments this year, as well as to shed some light on our journey ahead for 2019.

Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.
Stephen Hawking, 1942–2018

Highlights 2018

1) Turning >100 Students into “Techies”

TechLabs aims to create a new generation of Digital Shapers. We do this by providing individual learning paths, personal mentoring, and a vibrant community for learning state-of-the-art coding skills. And we are overwhelmed by the great feedback we have received for this new educational approach in the past months: more than 200 students applied for our program. We are very happy to be able to offer a spot in our program for 135 of them, who have now attained their first coding skills with TechLabs.

Participants of the First TechLabs Generation (May 2018)

2) Google Impact Challenge 2018

In June, TechLabs was awarded by Google as one of the winning organizations live on stage in Berlin, providing us with 20.000€ that we will use for improving tech education in Muenster. Thanks a lot to all of you who voted for us and contributed to this success!

Our team at the Google Impact Challenge in Berlin (Jun 2018)

3) Building one of the Fastest Tech Education Journeys

You’ll be ready for your first coding project after just 50 hours of learning. Even as an absolute beginner. Sounds impossible? We don’t think so. Our curriculum experts have worked an entire year on optimizing our program consisting of online courses, blogs, projects, workshops and social events. In October we launched a new e-learning platform that helps us to serve personalized learning paths to every participant, as well as to analyze learning progress of our community in real-time (we’re still Data Scientists after all). All with one goal in mind: to prove that learning coding skills is not only fun, but also much easier than most people think.

4) Working Together with Great Partners

We are grateful to have the chance of working together with a bunch of sponsors, who believe in our approach to tech education. With the generous support of Accenture Interactive, Westfalen AG, and zeb we are able to provide free tech education to even more young people going forward. Thank you very much!

What 2019 Holds for Us

It is our mission to bring state-of-the-art technology skills to the masses of young people and we were quite happy with the impact we were able to generate in our first year. We were constantly iterating and adding new features to the TechLabs journey with one clear goal in mind: giving students the best possible tech education. While we are certainly only in the beginning of realizing our product vision, we believe that it is the right time to bring TechLabs to even more people in 2019.

1) Scale

It is one of our main goals for 2019 to build communities across Germany (and perhaps even Europe). The first one was already announced earlier this month: TechLabs ESADE in the Spanish tech-hub of Barcelona. Several other cities are going to follow and our expansion team is busier than ever. In case you know someone or a team that would be interested to roll-out TechLabs at a new location, feel free to reach out.

Kickoff Session of TechLabs ESADE in Barcelona (Dec 2018)

2) Platform

Let’s face it: We won’t be able to create the opportunity of free tech education for everyone just by introducing local communities. The need for digital education is huge, but not everyone has access to our program, yet. We received requests from all over Germany, asking for the best way on how to get into tech. In 2019, we will provide everyone — independent of their location — with the opportunity to learn tech skills in an extremely efficient way. We will open-source basic versions of our current tracks on a new open learning platform. Further, we will provide our students with a whole lot of new material in form of blogs, livestreams, or interviews — stay tuned!

3) Space

The core of TechLabs’ vision is blending online learning with a vibrant offline community eager to help each other. Yet, part of our program is still incomplete as long as we do not provide our participants a real home for learning — a physical location where people come together to live technology. We decided that it is time to change that. Going into 2019, we are actively looking to build an open-learning space focused on technology in Muenster where we will bring together students, teachers, and builders. Again, if you happen to know of a suitable location in the heart of Muenster, feel free to reach out.

4) Network

We are so fortunate to have found great partners in the last year. But we are only in the beginning of creating awareness of the problems we will be facing if education does not change. Fortunately, we are not the only ones eager to work on our digital future. And we want to do our very best to support others working on the same mission. We will expand our efforts in exchanging thoughts with federal politics and will be connecting with thought leaders in the digital education space. We strongly believe that every interaction with people willing to change the status quo helps us in realizing our mission.

To close, we simply want to say thank you. Thank you to all the supporters along the way, who made this possible in the first place and continue to support us in the future. Finally, thank you to our awesome TechLabs management team, which grew from 2 to 10 and now to almost 30 people within just a single year. A team that has shown incredible growth and dedication to our vision of rethinking tech education. And finally, many thanks to all our amazing participants that have completed the program in 2018 — it was great fun working and learning together with all of you!

All the best for 2019,

Marius & David (Board TechLabs e.V.)