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Building Sustainable Ecosystems: Education

October 18, 2019ByKonstantinos Papamiltiadis

Developers, startups and technology businesses all around the world — these are the groups my team and I passionately support. Internally, we call you “innovators”, because we think that fundamentally you have the desire and ambition to leverage technology to solve problems for people. Some of you are students, professionals, serial entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystems enablers. Whatever your profile is, ultimately, you are the driving force of innovation. In our efforts to identify the best way to support you, I had the opportunity to spend some time reflecting on my own journey and how innovation has become a key ingredient in what I do. These were some of the defining moments:

  1. When I learned how to read & write in kindergarten
  2. When I learned how to code
  3. When I learned how to build my first app
  4. When I learned how to build platforms that enable others to innovate

Thinking about this retrospectively also made me realize how critical it is to have a support system from subject matter experts and access to resources through each stage — a need for democratized access to knowledge and opportunities. To enable this, we believe our investments in education, innovation and community on a foundation of integrity will help develop a healthy tech ecosystem for the future. Let me start by sharing more on how we are thinking about education.

Over the past ten years, technology has been evolving at a very fast pace, and it is challenging to stay up-to-date on the latest. 20 years ago, when I was still in college, I learned how to code on Basic and then C++. Think that might still be relevant today? Not when most of it can be done with Javascript. In our industry, I believe it's critical to invest in education. Not only does it give people a chance to learn skills for the future, it also has the potential to change lives and make dreams come true. Our investments in education include a range of programs designed to provide training, guidance and mentorship to developers and startups around the world. These include Developer Circles and a set of Acceleration Programs that happen in partnership with local providers at our hubs around the world.

Developer Circles(DevC) is a program focused on providing the developer community with the tools, training content, as well as practical experience through meetups, build days, hackathons and finally access to Facebook's developer networks around the world. By investing in developer education and helping facilitate connections to the broader technology ecosystem, Developer Circles members are empowered to improve their skills and build innovative products — whether they are just starting out or are an experienced developer. Since the program’s launch two years ago at F8 2017, the Developer Circles community has grown to over 200k developers, in 130 cities, across 6 continents.

(Developer Circle leads meet at Facebook iD8 Sao Paulo, October 2019)

The most rewarding part is seeing the success our members achieve. I'd like to share a story of one such member — Miguel Ramirez. He decided to become a developer after learning about the power of tech. He found out about DevC and Facebook scholarships in Mexico City and decided to apply. When he returned to his hometown Monterrey, he decided to become a Developer Circle lead to share the technical knowledge he had acquired to help enable his local community and create equal opportunities like the ones he had access to. Because of the scholarship and his leadership as a DevC lead he is now a senior developer in Nowports, one of the few Mexican Y combinator startups.

Acceleration programs provide high-touch training and mentorship in a variety of areas, including product, engineering, UX & design, data science, marketing and more. Today, we have 11 acceleration programs spanning different regions and are working to bring this global community together. Being able to influence the trajectory of businesses is a privilege. Here is a story about Platzi.

(Miguel Ramirez, Developer Circle Lead, Monterrey, Mexico City)

At the end of 2018, Platzi, an educational startup from Mexico that provides online courses, was in the process of building their mobile application. They participated in our accelerator program, Startup Hub CDMX. Through this program they learned best practices about building apps with React Native which resulted in them developing online training courses on React. Their increasing growth and the impact of these courses on training developers & entrepreneurs in Latin America led us to partner with Platzi and make their content & trainings available to thousands of Spanish-speaking Developer Circles members in the region. They created an in-depth training on React specifically for Developer Circles members that reaches close to 50K developers in the region.

We have just started to scratch the surface with the possibilities resulting from investing in education. I have a strong belief that the right training and education will enable these multi-faceted groups of innovators to produce phenomenal outcomes in the years to come. I hope to see you at one of our local events and and look forward to connecting with you at a developer circle to share our experiences building solutions for people.