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Gülcan Yayla
Co-Founder, CEO
May 31, 2024
Case Study: How we are onboarding 1,000+ Turkish developers to Internet Computer

Building and scaling successful web3 developer outreach and training programs is one of the most difficult things to do. In this case study, we present how we work with Internet Computer (ICP) to train hundreds of developers in Turkey on Internet Computer and help them build a career in web3. 

In our experience, developers in different countries react differently to new chains and technologies, and the process of helping them build projects differs a lot from country to country. So, we prefer starting with experimenting with smaller-scale educational programs and events. We learn from these and then scale successful practices. 

In this case study, we’ll look into how we grew our developer onboarding process 10x for ICP in a year in Turkey.

Phase I: Early days of our programs with ICP

In May 2023, the early days of our collaboration with ICP started with a training bootcamp for female developers in Turkey, which provided women in technology with opportunities for growth and learning in web3. This initiative provided opportunities for women in tech to gain valuable experience and knowledge in the field. In the bootcamp, we upskilled 457 women developers in web3 and ICP technology.

This first bootcamp helped us build more awareness around ICP’s technology and ignite the interest of developers to build on ICP. After such educational programs, it’s always best to bring this community together in IRL events to showcase their projects and efforts. So, we decided to organize the first ICP HUB Hacker’s Den in Turkey in November 2023, a major event in Istanbul that drew over 300 developers, featuring 12 teams presenting their projects for a chance to win $25,000 in prizes. Dominic Williams, the founder of ICP, and team members of ICP Global Community also joined the event. Seeing the ICP team personally visiting Turkey and meeting developers motivated our community a lot.

One of the notable projects built at this event was ckNFT. NFT’s on ICP are superior as they store the asset data with the token. However, EVM chains capture most of the trading liquidity for now. ckNFT is a direct integration of an ICRC7-based NFT with EVM blockchains such as Bitfinity or Ethereum using ERC-1155 standard.

Lessons Learned from Phase I

I. Using Rust as the language to build smart contracts has a steep learning curve 

We realized that many developers in our community had trouble learning how to deploy projects on Rust in a short time. Hence, we decided to use a more devs-friendly programming language Motoko during our workshops. While longer bootcamps that start with Rust had a project submission rate of 9.94%, the shorter workshops with Motoko helped us achieve a project submission rate of 85.71%!

On the other hand, while the best option was Motoko for beginner-level devs, we also observed that Motoko was not as effective as Rust for building complex projects on ICP. So, we decided to tailor our upcoming programs based on different experience levels, providing Motoko for beginners and Rust for medior and senior developers. 

II. Providing career-focused incentives worked better to retain developers

Developers expected a tangible impact on their careers when they started our programs. This is understandable since the opportunity cost is very high for talented developers. When we couldn’t provide them with concrete next steps for their careers, drop out is high. 

So, we decided to introduce bounties and internship / fellowship opportunities for successful project builders. This significantly boosted project completion rates and engagement. 

III. Providing support from mentors in the local language is key

Developers were comfortable with following our course and tutorials in English but we needed to bring Turkish-speaking mentors to live sessions since the language barrier has been a big challenge in Turkey.

Former graduates from our bootcamps serving as mentors have played a valuable role in providing support and guidance to current participants. Offering localized education adapted to Turkey's specific context allows us to support students efficiently. 

Phase II: Scaling the Developer Education Programs

Wrapping up 2023 with these learnings, we started 2024 with the goal of onboarding 1,000+ developers to ICP in 2024! 

In only first quarter of 2024, we have already started seeing outstanding results:

  • The number of learners in our ICP education programs increased to 1,600 developers.
  • These developers built 300+ sample canisters and submitted the projects on their GitHub!
  • Out of these, 40 unique canisters were developed on ICP, increasing the engagement on GitHub even further.
  • We have organized 3 events in 3 months that brought together 200+ participants.
  • We hired 3 interns from these programs to help mentor new developers and keep building their projects. This means additional earning and career opportunities for the Turkish youth.
  • We've also progressed in building partnerships and collaborations with local startups and developer communities.

As we look ahead to 2024, our goal is to help builders in Turkey create successful startups on ICP. The projects that built unique canisters are great candidates for this. We keep supporting them one-on-one with our dedicated team to grow the ICP ecosystem in Turkey. 

Win 1: Success stories from our students

From January 2nd to February 11th, we held an Internship Bootcamp that resulted in successful participants who have become our interns. These interns developed innovative projects in different fields, showcasing their skills and creativity.

Here are a few examples of our students' projects:

Tuğberk Serçe: A senior student at Yıldız Technical University studying Physics, Tuğberk's passion for software began in high school. During the bootcamp, he became acquainted with and developed his first project on ICP using Rust programming language. His project aims to improve efficiency and reliability by transferring e-health services to ICP.

Berk Mervan Erenci: A senior student at Istanbul University Law School, Berk developed an interest in Web3 and software during his university years. In the bootcamp, he created a final project involving a completely on-chain decentralized auction platform, offering a transparent solution for online auctions.

Furkan Çetinalp: After graduating as a mechanical engineer, Furkan began studying computer engineering at Kayseri University due to his interest in software. His interest in Web3 began in 2022 through the bootcamp. Furkan developed a project that allows e-commerce businesses to send their products to Letgo and transfer products from Letgo to the blockchain.

Umut Can Demir: After graduating with an associate degree in computer programming in Bilecik, Umut Can Demir participated in the Internet Computer Internship Bootcamp and developed an interview project on blockchain. His project aims to help authenticated users prepare for job interviews by answering quiz questions and viewing their results.

Yunus Cem: Yunus is a doctor in medicine. He took his first steps into the world of Web3 through a bootcamp organized by Patika. Through this bootcamp, Yunus learned the fundamentals of blockchain and Web3, deploying a to-do app and an NFT-minting application using the Rust language. Following this, he quickly participated in our workshop, where he gained detailed knowledge about developing dApps on ICP. 

Nowadays, Yunus has been working on a new project aimed at ensuring the privacy of company personnel data and enhancing data security using Web3 technologies. Yunus emphasizes that navigating the Web3 world alone can be challenging for newbies and recommends joining a team for support and collaboration.

Win 2: Our outreach activities brought 500,000+ digital media reach and increased awareness about ICP in Turkey

Throughout the program, we’ve run a strong marketing campaign to increase awareness about ICP in the Turkish developer community. The campaigns centered around the programs and ICP learning resources. See some content we create here.

🌟 These efforts brought ICP 500,000+ social media reach. Even more importantly, this number doesn’t count the reach thanks to tens of developers sharing their experiences with ICP - which brought thousands more eyeballs to ICP! 

See some of the notable interactions of developers below:

Inviting All Developers to Join Us

For the rest of 2024, we will support all these developers and new ones to build meaningful use cases and receive ICP grants or other funding. 

We invite all developers to join us in our mission to unlock opportunities and bring fresh perspectives to ICP. Whether you are an aspiring developer or an experienced professional, our programs offer comprehensive education, mentorship, and support tailored to your needs. 

Start your web3 career on ICP via our free & online Fundamentals Course!

Also don’t forget to follow ICP HUB Turkey for future programs with ICP in Turkey.

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