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Story highlights

Andela is a tech company that trains talented Africans as software developers

It accepts only 0.7% of those who apply for its program

Successful alumni have been placed to work remotely for companies like Microsoft and IBM

CNN  — 

Only the brightest women need apply here.

A highly-competitive training program in Kenya is seeking the smartest female developers.

Andela Kenya has opened applications for an all-female contingent in the country’s capital Nairobi.

The company’s focus on attracting top female talent has been no secret. “It has been a personal and a company-wide priority to recruit and retain top female talent since we began. We’ve conducted all-female recruitment cycles and classes in Lagos, Nigeria and are now starting a similar initiative in Kenya,” says Andela co-founder Christina Sass.

“In terms of those accepted, our developers are 18% women in Lagos and Nairobi combined. Our latest class accepted in Lagos is 25% women. We are improving, but still can do better – and we will. Bringing women into career paths is a passion of mine and a priority supported throughout Andela,” she added.

Gender neutral results

Andela, with an acceptance rate of 0.7%, is harder to get into than Harvard. The four-year-long paid scheme trains the most talented people across Africa to become world-class software developers, eventually matching them to work remotely for international companies.

Less than 1% of those who apply are accepted – in comparison, Harvard admits 6% of applicants and Princeton 7.1%.

Sass says that the company decided to specifically target women because, as there are fewer female computer sciences and engineering students, fewer apply to Andela.

“However, once they do apply, test scores – both technical, and psychometric – are gender neutral,” Sass adds.

“Our female software developers are moving through the technical leadership training at the same rate and have equal or better client satisfaction in comparison to their male counterparts once placed with international companies,” she says.

Andela quote

Cream of the crop

Andela’s rigorous selection process starts with an online aptitude test. The candidates are then required to complete a self-study software course, which the company says also measures their drive and commitment. The next round is a face-to-face interview, but the final hurdle is most grueling - a two-week, full-time boot-camp at an Andela campus led by senior developers.

Those who make it successfully through the whole process are paid a wage while they train. Developers have been placed with companies like Microsoft and IBM, as well as up-and-coming start-ups, all while being based in Africa.

Andela flies new hires to their employers’ HQ for two weeks so they can get to know the culture and meet the team. Even though they’re not based in the same country, the developers work to the company’s hours, and participate in group discussions and meeting through instant messaging channels.

“With a reliable Internet connection, a world-class developer can add value remotely from wherever in the world they happen to be,” Andela co-founder Iyinoluwa Aboyeji told CNN.

The company says they have a vision to train 100,000 elite developers in the next 10 years.