What is Qala?
For many African software developers, the pathway to a career as a Bitcoin developer is not clear, and so it remains an untapped opportunity. This is the challenge that the team at Qala Africa is working to resolve.
Qala is a programme designed to train the next generation of Bitcoin and Lightning Network developers from across the African continent. The goal is to find, upskill and match African developers with Bitcoin companies from around the globe.
The Qala curriculum is tailored to give developers the philosophical background and firm foundations of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network, with an acute focus on developing the most in-demand skills sought after by companies.
What Qala aims to achieve
African Perspectives on Bitcoin Development
Bitcoin remains the go-to leader in the cryptocurrency space, with the largest market capitalization and most secure, open, decentralized, and censorship-resistant network. Bitcoin is not going away anytime soon. We have an opportunity to ensure that African voices are represented in community conversations about the direction of Bitcoin. With time, we also hope this will stimulate the development of new use cases of Bitcoin to tackle important socio-economic challenges facing the continent. Qala is committed to facilitating this.
A Whole World of Job Opportunities
Beyond working on Bitcoin Core, there are numerous job opportunities for developers to work on the Lightning network, alternative software implementations of Bitcoin, the operating systems for Bitcoin nodes, utility and client libraries, and an assortment of wallets, payment processors and exchanges that support Bitcoin. Through Qala, African developers will be upskilled for and connected to these opportunities.
Facilitating Learning Opportunities
Developers need challenges and opportunities that help them develop the in-demand skills that employers are seeking. In this light, Qala intends to organize hackathons and challenges for the African Bitcoin developer community to develop their skills, collaborate with peers, and build out a portfolio of projects that will help them grow in proficiency and marketability.
Learning & Growing Together
Peer-to-peer engagement is a core part of the Bitcoin DNA and a foundational aspect endorsed by developers in the community driving its development from inception. Empirically, learning happens best when there is a communal element at play. Qala is committed to building an active community of African Bitcoin developers. This support group will be crucial for the development and growth of every developer in the programme.
The Journey So Far
Since opening a call in October 2021, more than 800 African developers have applied for a place on the Qala programme
After completing a code challenge and attending short interviews, the top 50 performers were invited to start their peer-to-peer learning journey through study groups and virtual seminars where they learnt the fundamentals and philosophy behind Bitcoin. From this cohort, the top 12 candidates were chosen to join in the 3-month programme, where they gained advanced skills and have been matched with Bitcoin-first specific roles with organisations like Galoy and Btrust. Additionally, other fellows have turned into Qala mentors, sharing their Bitcoin insight with other up-and-coming African developers.
The new Qala cohort will follow the significant momentum of the first Qala cohort’s immersive bitcoin experience. Qala is currently accepting applications for the next cohort, beginning Q1 2023. All skilled African software developers are encouraged to apply now and stay up to date with the latest information on the application process via the Qala Newsletter.
Meet the Team
Qala is the brainchild of a quartet of African Bitcoin and Lightning developers keen to see more people like them actively contributing to the development of the Bitcoin and Lightning networks.
An experienced and world-class faculty has been assembled to support the students through a personalized learning experience that would help them hit the ground running as Bitcoin engineers upon commencement of work.
Qala’s day-to-day operations are run by a dedicated team with immense experience in the developer and innovation ecosystem across Africa. We are committed to bring to life the mission to grow a critical mass of African Bitcoin & Lightning developers
Qala Press releases - July 2022