Student Story: Erick

Once Erick discovered that coding was behind websites and apps, he knew he wanted to be a coder.

Erick wanted to learn to code so he could build apps and websites to help others

Erick discovered coding at The African Leadership Academy, a high school in South Africa that helps Africans who have the potential to catalyze positive change on the continent.    

He loved apps and technology, but he never knew what brought them to life. Once he knew that coding was behind apps and websites, he wanted to learn how to make them. 

“I wasn’t afraid of hard work”, says Erick, who came to South Africa from a refugee camp in Uganda. “The only way out of a refugee camp is to work hard.”

Coding was the answer.

With coding, he saw a way to help refugees and struggling people – by building digital products to improve their lives. 

He took a gap year to think about his career and learn how to code. “I’m passionate about community development, and I wanted to figure out how to improve my tech skills to improve the well-being of people.” 

“I wanted to become a coder, but it was a struggle. I tried Youtube and other ways of self-learning but could only get so far. Then I discovered CodeYourFuture.” 

During his gap year, Erick had returned to his refugee camp in Uganda. When the COVID pandemic happened, he could not leave. He continued his CodeYourFuture training, as the programme had temporarily become fully online during the pandemic.

Building confidence, and then building websites to help people. 

“I loved the project-based learning with CodeYourFuture. Lots of projects and lots of homework.” Erick says, “it was hard at first, but with practice, I started to improve. I did everything I could to hit my deadlines!”

“Erick demonstrated exceptional commitment to the programme”, says Lana, co-founder of CodeYourFuture South Africa. “During the final projects, Erick exhibited high levels of professionalism, curiosity and efficiency in meeting the brief. Erick is an all-around phenomenal guy!”

As he progressed, Erick discovered the strategy behind the CodeYourFuture syllabus. “When I got to the database module towards the end of the Software Development course, everything made sense; I see how the front and back end all work together”.

During his time with CodeYourFuture, Erick continued to use his new coding skills to help others. He built two websites for non-profit organisations, Coburwas and Merick Academy, that help refugees better access education. Coburwas runs a primary and secondary school in the refugee camp, and the Marick Academy helps find scholarships for refugees. 

He also built Love Your City, an app to help people create, launch and coordinate charity campaigns.

Hard work pays off

After graduating from CodeYourFuture, Erick was offered an internship – working with an international education technology company based in the UK.

“I never thought I could do it. Now I am contributing to something meaningful. Working in low-income areas, making education accessible.”

More good news has come for Erick. He recently won a scholarship to a prestigious university in the USA to study computer science and maths.

“I used to doubt myself in coding.” Erick recalls, ” I never thought I would be able to call myself a programmer. I didn’t know anything! Now, I am a programmer!”

Are you interested in joining CYF as a student? Visit our study page to start your coding journey.

Are you interested in joining the CYF community as a volunteer? Visit our volunteer page and register your interest as a CYF volunteer.