Tatler Indonesia

Ronald Ishak

Co-founder of Hactiv8 decodes the message from his journey in the technology world

- By Clairice Halim

In 2008, when Blackberry was rising in popularity in Indonesia, Ishak dropped out of graduate school to build Domikado, the country’s first mobile lifestyle app enabling Blackberry users to check movie schedules, gym classes and trade stocks. Internet adoption was wtaking off, and Ishak saw an opportunit­y to help grow its ecosystem. Today, Ishak is well known amongst the Indonesian tech circles as an angel investor, technologi­st and educator at Hacktiv8.

Unlikely path to being an educator, I was kicked out of high school.

I had a 0.8 GPA out of 4.0 while pursuing my undergradu­ate studies in Informatio­n Management at Syracuse University. In between classes, I decided to teach myself programmin­g and other skills that piqued my interest. It was there I found my passion for creating things using technology to make life better.

“My parents were always worried about my future, but I’m grateful that they allowed me to keep exploring and trying without seeding any doubt in my dreams.” Through my experience­s, I instilled the growth mindset. I believe that intelligen­ce can be developed, and nobody is a failure—they just have not had enough time to develop.

I founded Hacktiv8 in 2016 since I saw a scarcity of informatio­n-technology human resources. Hacktiv8 is an education programme to help absolute beginners become jobready app developers in 12 weeks. What usually would require a four-year computer science degree can now be achieved in 12 intensive weeks. Thousands of students have gone through Hacktiv8, and many of its graduates are now helping build the technologi­es behind Indonesia’s top unicorns, startups and apps. On average, Hacktiv8 graduates receive a

100 per cent salary bump after finishing the program and are hired within weeks. Hacktiv8 is ranked no. 2 globally for coding schools with the best hiring outcomes according to Council on Integrity in Results Reporting.

COVID-19 has devastated many businesses, but I view it as the “age of accelerati­on”. Businesses have to re-evaluate their strategies in adopting any technology. More companies turn to technology, data, machine learning, artificial intelligen­ce and automation to run their organizati­ons. It is more important than ever to get our workforce re-skilled ready for this change. I remember Paul Graham once said, “Live in the future and build what is missing”, and this is how I embrace the new normality.

For me, there is no right path to finding your success. We all have a different definition of what our success is. Mine has been about empowering others, seeing them thrive, and being able to play a part in their journey. Investing in people is the most rewarding journey I get to be a part of.

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