lessons from covid-19

Our biggest lessons from COVID-19 – Part 2: Risk Awareness is Key

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COVID-19 has been devastating, but it has also been a learning experience for our education system, businesses, and society. Below, our Head of Education, Nico Kruger, outlines the biggest lessons we’ve learned about the explosion of digital transformation, the importance of education models that aren’t locked in the past, and smarter, more agile strategies to keep business competitive. 

In this second entry of this three-part series of lessons from COVID-19, we reveal the next big lesson we’ve learned in the past 6 months: that with changing times come brand new risks. You need to be aware of these potential career pitfalls and manage them strategically if you want to continue on your successful career path. 


The risks are unprecedented and multi-faceted, so why are we doing everything the same way?


“Prospective uni students are asking themselves how much time and money a four-year Zoom call is really worth.” 

As southern Africa’s largest provider of accessible tech education, we’ve been at the forefront of the massive changes that the education system has faced. Before, universities and formal tertiary education institutions were seen as tickets to success, and many openly pushed back against the idea of online education and digitisation as irrelevant or wasteful. Now, with the new reality of online curricula, video lectures, and limited in-person lectures, universities are playing catch-up just to deliver a basic education service; and prospective uni students are asking themselves how much time and money a four-year Zoom call is really worth. 

We’ve seen a significant increase in people approaching us because they want to get employable skills. The lesson is clear: people are shifting their expectations of educational offerings to having the option of doing courses online. And it’s not just us: in a recent survey, 2U found that 73% of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more likely to consider online programs, and 20% of respondents said that, absent COVID-19, they would not have considered an online program.

Many experts think that the lessons from COVID-19 will be a huge force for change in universities – but we think students can’t afford to wait around for that to happen. We need to take a critical look at how we educate ourselves and our children, and consider that a new normal means embracing better-placed, more efficient alternatives to a years-long educational lock-in. Educational institutions need to be more agile and able to adapt when physical attendance is not an option.

In order to truly prepare for this brave new world we live in, we – as businesses, employees or job seekers – need to take a few lessons from COVID-19 to heart. 


People are more aware of risk than ever before

With many once-giant industries being crippled by lockdown, people are considering their career paths and futures more carefully. For example, travel, tourism and hospitality were cornerstones of our economy; today, they’re shadows hanging on by the fingertips, waiting for international travel to return.The service industry and retail work have ground to a halt, with brick-and-mortar jobs just waiting for things to be normal enough to shoppers to come back.


“There’s one ever-present question: “What will happen to me and my career if another pandemic or disaster were to come along?”

People are learning some important lessons from COVID-19 in their career development: they’re figuring out which careers will offer real job security and growth. In the back of their minds, there’s one ever-present question: “What will happen to me and my career if another pandemic or disaster were to come along?” 

I think it’s vital that people entering the job market ask themselves this. I am not saying that one should not go into industries that were severely affected by COVID-19, but one should know the risks and be able to adapt should we face another situation like this in future. 


Working from home will simply be called ‘working’


“Securing remote opportunities is a good way to hedge the risks of the uncertain job market and gain relevant experience in a world that’s valuing tech skills and tech experience more and more”

Against this backdrop, and also keeping in mind the safety risk of going back to offices just yet, the appeal of remote work and remote-only opportunities has skyrocketed. Within our Education department, we have seen a fivefold increase in the number of people applying for our Code Reviewer roles, which are fully remote. Under the brand CoGrammar, we work with several US- and UK-based edtech companies where we technically assess and provide code reviews and helpful feedback to their students. For these positions, we look to sign contracts with technically skilled people who can review a variety of code ranging from Python to JavaScript to more advanced data science concepts, and this work that can be done on a freelance, part-time basis at different times of the day, including late at night when some of our code reviewers have technical calls with US-based students.

In that sense, securing remote opportunities is quite a good way to not only hedge the risks of the uncertain job market right now, but also gain very relevant experience in a world that’s valuing tech skills and tech experience more and more. 

For both employers and job-seekers, the choice is simple: learn these important lessons from COVID-19 to secure your future, or go bust. In the next part of this series, we’ll examine the importance of businesses learning to adapt quickly to new challenges, or face permanent financial damage and even closure. 



For us as an ed-tech provider, the new normal of digital services, remote work, and huge demand for software and technology systems have made coding skills more crucial than ever. Our specialised coding bootcamps teach people the skills they need to have to get working in the tech industry in less than 6 months. They get 1-on-1 mentorship and expert code review, with all the career support they need to get started in their tech career. Plus, we offer a free trial that offers all the beginner essentials to get future coders started. 

And we’re looking for talented people who care about accessible tech education, and want to help people create better lives for themselves through rewarding tech careers. If you think you’d be a great fit in our home-grown start-up that’s making a global impact, please visit our careers page to see what opportunities await you at HyperionDev


Continue reading the third part of this three-part series here.