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HackYourFuture helps refugees learn computer programming.

HackYourFuture is an educational program that helps refugees in the Netherlands learn computer programming.

The world is becoming ever more digital, and we need people to build it. There is great demand for programmers worldwide and in the Netherlands alone the number of job positions for programmers increased by 28% in 2015. At the same time, we have been seeing an influx of refugees with great potential to Europe. Hack Your Future asks: Why not combine these facts into a great project that benefits all?

Gijs Corstens from HYF explains that there is a tremendous amount of unused potential within the group of newcomers to the Netherlands. ‘We want to give them a chance to prove what they can achieve with the right support and network’ Corstens explains. ‘Our experiences have been overwhelmingly positive with very hard-working people who really prosper when given a clear goal and the right support’.

HackYourFuture is an educational program that helps refugees in the Netherlands learn computer programming. The program is focused on quickly teaching students how to program and develop in-demand skills for the job market, and connects students with companies that hire programmers.

Hack Your Future teaches refugees to become full-stack web developers. In other words, refugees learn how to work with the range of technologies required to develop a product for the web. They learn languages such as HTML/CSS, Javascript, Ruby, MongoDB and more. They also learn how to use web products like Pinterest, Twitter and voting apps, as well as developing their own ideas. So far, 20 of the graduates have been placed in jobs and internships with multiple companies all over the Netherlands.

Currently Hack Your Future is looking for business partners who, through sponsoring the initiative, gain exposure among  the developer community in the Netherlands. Developers have also gone on to directly hire refugee students.

A sister scheme, Code Your Future, started recently, and organising the same kind of coding lessons for refugees.

Most of the learning in the program is being done online via an educational website but there will be meetings every weekend in Amsterdam (many of the students don’t live in Amsterdam). The travel expenses are covered for the students. The program works with project-based learning, where students are challenged to build things together and learn while doing. Within months from their first lessons, refugees start building their own projects.

HackYouFuture is a foundation with 45 volunteers(developers) and 2 paid employees. We teach students from all around the Netherlands on Sundays in Amsterdam, and support them online during the week.


Case study date: February 2017



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