After keeping this secret under wraps for the past month and a half, we are beyond thrilled to announce that we have officially partnered up with Lambda School to build the Key Conservation app!
Lambda School is a live, skills-based online school that trains people to be software engineers at no cost until they are hired. In line with one our core values to provide equal opportunities for all, Lambda also aims to solve the barriers that are in the way of a better career and education by providing access to higher quality incomes and career mobility.
Lambda Labs is an immersive program within Lambda that seeks to mutually benefit up-and-coming software engineers and for-good organizations (like Key Conservation!). Their mission is to:
• Offer real-world experience, meaningful projects, and mentorship to Lambda students and recent graduates who want to contribute to tech for good.
• Provide no and low-cost software development services to nonprofits, startups, and other organizations that can use technology to achieve positive social and environmental change.
How did Lambda School start?
Founders Austen Allred and Ben Nelson founded Lambda in 2017 because they wanted to build a better education and career path for people. They figured if they could solve the barriers in the way of a better career, they could help match hardworking, motivated people with the job openings and opportunities that were out there.
"We need to replace the current model of education with something that doesn’t leave people broke for the rest of their lives if it doesn’t work out." Austen Allred, Co-founder of Lambda School
Tell me more about how the program works.
Lambda School trains people online to be software engineers at no cost to them until they are hired. Once a student is accepted into a Lambda School program, they have the option to either pay a tuition of $20k up-front with no income-based repayment, or agree to pay a percentage of their income after they’re employed, but only if they’re making more than $50,000 per year.
Once they are earning at least $50k per year, they pay back 17% of their income for the first two years. Total tuition possible is capped at a maximum of $30k, so no matter how much they’re getting paid, the most they would possibly pay is $30k. Unlike student loans, their ISA does not accrue interest. If the student doesn’t reach the payment cap during the 5-year lifespan of their ISA, the ISA is canceled. If a graduate's income ever drops below $50,000 per year, payments are paused until their income reaches the minimum threshold. In other words, Lambda only gets paid if the student does.
Accepted students pursue one of five tracks: Web Development, Data Science, Android Development, iOS Development, and UX Design with a new cohort starting every five weeks.
The program is remote (online), offered in both formats:
Full-time (9 months; Monday-Friday 8am-5pm PST)
Part-time (18 months; Monday-Thursday 4-7pm PST)
Bottom line, Lambda doesn’t succeed unless their students do, so everything they do is designed to optimize a student’s chances of success. Their curriculum is designed specifically to get students a high-paying job. They believe in skills, not credentials, so they design their curriculum backward based on the exact skills hiring managers look for.
We could not imagine a better organization to team up with. Through our partnership with Lambda, we are connecting with individuals who want to use their skills to help conservation organizations before the app is even finished being developed! Currently, we have a team of 11 people from Lambda that are working on the Key Conservation app. The team is currently working together to develop the app in phases with set goals of features we want to have completed in each phase.
Current and Next Steps
We are excited to be approaching the end of phase one of development which will allow us to start testing the first features on our phones and in a few short weeks, with our pilot projects testing in the field soon after!
From here our goal is to have regular updates on what is happening in the design and development of the Key Conservation app. We will be sharing what features are being built, what obstacles we are facing, the solutions we've found and what we hope to accomplish in the phases ahead. Follow along with the progress of the development of the Key Conservation app as it happens week to week and be sure to sign up to join us when it's released here!
Here's to Empowering Hope from the ground up at Key!