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🌞 Building Australia’s First Tech Sales Bootcamp
Our results & reflections 6 months after launching Australia's first tech bootcamp with a job guarantee, for a role with zero degrees
Howdy Earlyworkers, it’s been a hot minute! 🔥
We’ve been heads-down getting Earlywork Academy off the ground 🚀
After six months, we’re excited to now share some early results and success stories with y’all!
At a high-level, here are the five biggest stats from our first cohort that we’re most proud of:
1) 100% of the fellows in our first cohort actively looking for a full-time tech sales role have landed tech job offers
2) They got jobs at both local and global startups and big tech companies like SafetyCulture, Datadog, Ansarada, Databricks, Verkada, Ofload & Yotpo
3) The average graduate received an offer less than 4 weeks after graduating from our 3-week training program
4)The average total compensation for our first cohort was $101,375 + Super
5) Our average fellow feedback rating on the program was 9.3/10
It sounds nuts, but we think we’ve achieved better employment outcomes for fellows in 3 weeks than a Commerce degree achieves for students in 3 years.
So how the heck did we get here?
How It Started 🐣
From the genesis of Earlywork, we’ve been pissed off by the absurd gap between tertiary education and careers.
The #1 reason most students go to university is to get a good job, and paradoxically, we met so many students graduating from university with:
Tens of thousands of dollars in student debt
A lack of skills the industry actually needed
Almost zero support in landing a job, let alone a relevant one
We had a firm belief early on that vocational education should be incentive-aligned.
Institutions should only be financially rewarded if they actually help students get the employment outcomes they’re looking for.
And you know the crazy thing?
Before our community even started, the first business idea we tested at the end of 2020 was… no-win, no-fee job search coaching.
As rookie founders, we struggled with execution, making a tough call to shelve that project and instead launch a Slack community for early-career tech & startup talent.
When we went full-time on the business in February 2022, we spent the year experimenting with solutions to help early-career talent begin their careers in tech.
From user interviews with 50+ tech companies, we saw engineering and sales were the two hardest junior roles to fill.
Now engineering had dozens of degrees and bootcamps to source and filter talent from.
But tech sales?
Absolutely zilch… ❌
What makes it even more bizarre is the other side of the equation.
We knew so many early-career folks with great people skills who wanted to work in tech…but they didn’t want to be engineers.
We put 2 and 2 together and saw an opportunity.
At the end of November 2022, we announced the launch of Earlywork Academy, Australia’s first tech bootcamp with a job guarantee and first tech sales bootcamp.
But despite thorough industry and user research, there were still lots of unknowns and doubts swimming in our heads:
Would jobseekers pay thousands of dollars for a tech sales bootcamp?
Would we be able to change the misguided reputation of sales based on outdated stereotypes?
Would we be able to deliver a great, loveable program experience?
Would we be able to build trust with employers that this was a credible solution for helping them hire vetted, trained tech sales talent?
And even if we were initially successful, would we be able to do it more than once to prove it isn’t a fluke?
How It’s Going 🚀
Fast forward 6 months, 3 cohorts, and 60+ graduates, and we’re genuinely shocked by what our fellows have been able to achieve.
This week, Joseph Lam from The Australian published the first media story on Earlywork Academy and our wins so far.
Alishia Lambropoulos, who was interviewed for the piece, is a stellar example
She came to Earlywork Academy as an exercise physiologist, worlds away from tech 👩⚕️
Within a month of graduating, she landed a job as a Sales Development Representative at Datadog, one of the biggest SaaS companies in the world ✨
They even flew her out to NYC for onboarding!
But that’s not the only amazing story from our first few cohorts.
Here are a few other highlights from fellows along the way:
Eric Cech came to Australia from the US during COVID as a freelance photographer and had to rebuild his business from scratch. He ended up landing a Sales Development Representative role with Yotpo, an Israeli SaaS unicorn that recently expanded to Australia, and the team described him as “one of the best SDRs we’ve ever hired”.
Mya Walters previously worked in beauty industry partnerships & retail sales, and is still in university. She landed a Business Development Representative role at Aussie SaaS unicorn SafetyCulture and already hit 70% of her quarterly target in her first 4 weeks of sales.*
Addison Ogg eschewed the university path and instead built experience in the robotics & hardware space in Western Australia. He skipped past entry-level sales roles and jumped directly into an Account Executive role at Verkada, a US cloud-based security unicorn building security cameras with AI capabilities.
Sam Westley came from a background as a corporate lawyer at Clayton Utz. He’s landed a Senior Sales Development Representative role at Databricks, one of the largest enterprise SaaS scaleups in the US.
Paris Braithwaite came from a background in door-to-door sales, hospitality and freelance eSports coaching. He landed a Sales Development Representative role at Y-Combinator marketing tech startup Podium less than 3 weeks after graduating.
We wouldn’t have been able to get so many stories like these without you beautiful folks and the Earlywork Village.
70% of the fellows in our inaugural cohort came from the community, and we’re grateful that community referrals continue to make up a significant portion of our fellows.
And when you look at those stories, you’ll notice we’re not just finding existing sales talent for companies.
Instead, we’re creating a net-new talent supply that the tech industry never would’ve had otherwise.
33% of the fellows in our first two cohorts never even went to university.
For tech sales roles, we believe the underlying traits of ambition, resilience, listening skills, written communication and verbal communication far outweigh any piece of paper, and that training sales & job search skills can bridge the gap.
In building a ‘signal’ for the next generation of top tech sales talent, we’ve been fortunate to attract fast-growing tech companies locally and globally like Shippit, Zipline, Podium, Driva & Eftsure.
They’ve committed to annual partnerships with our program to build & scale their early-career go-to-market function.
Beyond immediate partners, we’ve been lucky enough to have dozens of tech sales folks stick up their hands to mentor our graduates.
And at the tech sales leadership level, we’ve felt a strong market pull and overwhelmingly positive sentiment, with multiple folks mentioning “the industry has been crying out for a solution like this for a decade.”
Where It’s Headed 🔮
Student debt is at an all-time high, compounded severely by a 7.1% indexation (the biggest in 3 decades), yet the tech skills gap is wider than ever.
With these two issues pulling away in different directions, it’s clear something drastic needs to change in order to prepare the next generation for the careers of tomorrow.
We’re on a mission to close the education-careers gap, and we’re just getting started.
In doing so, we believe that incentive-based pricing will play a critical role in shaping the future of vocational education, and we have our sights set on introducing this model to new roles and regions.
And in a world where asynchronous content is commoditised, we believe that intimate cohorts with live practical exercises, discussions with industry leaders, and personalised coaching are the human touches that build the highest impact learning experience in the shortest time possible.
We’re building the fastest, fairest pathway to begin a career in tech, and we’re stoked to have you along for the ride 🧡
How to Get Involved ⁉️
If you’re curious about a career in tech sales 👋
The tech sales talent gap is still huge today, and those who spot it now will gain an unfair advantage in their career
These are the 5 most exciting things we see about a career in tech sales:
A job with high earning potential: Tech sales salaries have jumped 12% year-on-year, attracting on average between $140,000 and $160,000 a year. (Think & Grow)
An essential founder skill: If you want to start your own business one day, your two jobs are to build something and sell something. Sales is a leadership fundamental that is instrumental in getting your first customers, investors, hires and partners.
Strong career progression: Starting your career in sales can lead you to closing deals with the world’s biggest enterprises, managing sales teams of hundreds, or defining the strategy for how new products go to market.
An in-demand, future-proof role: Sales is one of the three biggest roles in tech companies by headcount across APAC. As a revenue-generating role, it plays a critical function in the success of top tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Salesforce, and when US tech companies expand to Australia, sales is overwhelmingly the role they hire first.
A tech role centred around people skills: 84% of the tech companies we work with prefer sales candidates who have experience in people-facing roles. From retail to real estate, your ability to work with customers can be your superpower.
If you’re curious about tech sales roles, Cohort 4 applications are currently open!
Learn more about the program here and reach out to the team if you have any questions 😄
If you know someone who’d be a good fit for the Academy 🤝
Got a mate with incredible people skills and high ambition who’s keen to break into tech?
If you successfully refer them to Earlywork Academy, we’ll give you $200 or donate that amount to a charity of your choice.
If you’re keen to hire tech sales talent 💼
Looking to hire vetted, pre-trained, ambitious SDRs from diverse role backgrounds?
Learn more about our partnership model here and reach out to the team if you’d like to chat!
If you’re just keen to keep in the loop with the Earlywork crew ✨
As a team, we apologise that we haven’t been communicating with y’all as frequently as we would’ve liked 🙏
As a lean team of 4, we’ve been in noise-cancelling-headphones-in mode getting our first few academy cohorts off the ground over the last few months.
But we’re excited to get back to our roots and return to a more regular newsletter cadence bringing you along the Earlywork Academy journey.
Alongside that, we’ll be bringing back IRL Earlywork Community Meetups, and we’re buzzed that you’ll get the chance to meet some of our alumni with these 🎉
Y’all have been incredibly supportive over the last couple of years through the highs and lows, the experiments and lessons.
We’re absolutely fired up to build vocational education for the startup generation, together 🌏
But for Earlywork, it’s early days 🌞
Ciao for now,
Dan, Jono, Mazz, Ryan ❤️