CodeYourFuture (CYF) trains refugees and people who have financial, social or other challenges in coding. The program is free and helps graduates secure meaningful work in tech. CYF alumni Omolola shares how her lack of experience did not stop her from launching her career in IT.
Making ‘IT’ work
While Omolola knew that she wanted to work in the exciting world of IT, she was initially hesitant to go into a field she thought was ‘for geeks’. After overcoming her doubts about the industry and hearing about CodeYourFuture (CYF) through a friend, she decided to challenge herself and apply to be on CYF’s training program.
“l didn’t believe in myself and my abilities. My friend had to literally drag me to join her!”
As someone with a full time job, Omolola decided to devote her time outside of work to study. She knew that it would not be easy:
Omolola would commute long hours from Birmingham to London and found time outside of her 50-hour work week to stay on top of her homework. There were moments where she felt like she was not able to finish her homework, or there was a topic she did not fully understand. Along with fellow students, the team at CYF were ready to lend a helping hand.
Finding success in community
While the course was by no means a walk in the park, Omolola notes that it is also not one that students need to do alone. While initially hesitant to ask questions of the instructors, she made sure she overcame her fears to support her own learning:
“[Asking questions] is not a weakness but an acknowledgement of my limitations and willingness to learn more.”
In addition to tapping into the knowledge of her instructions and fellow students, Omolola received support from both an Education and Personal Development buddy. CYF buddies assist students as they go through the classes, and help them overcome barriers to completing the course. These challenges can range from work and childcare responsibilities, or resource issues, including finding equipment to study with. Omolola met with her Education buddy before each class to go over what she learnt in the previous class. She also connected with her Personal Development buddy to practice interview techniques.
Omolola also joined her class’s homework club so that she could study in the company of others who were going through a similar experience. Studying with others helped her stay motivated as she balanced her work responsibilities with classes and homework.
Forging her own path
In addition to meeting with her Education buddy, Omolola researched as much as she could about the upcoming topic so that she could be as prepared as possible before each class. Throughout the course, Omolola used different resources to complete the homework and understand the topics further. For example, she would find answers to coding questions by watching videos on YouTube.
Her self-belief and perseverance allowed Omolola to gain confidence in her abilities as the course progressed. Like any student, there were topics that she understood better than others, such as nodes and back-end coding. According to Omolola, success is determined less by what you already know about coding, and more about your attitude:
“We sell ourselves short sometimes and think that we cannot achieve our goals, but we only need to put in the effort, ask questions.”
The hard work pays off
After graduation, Omolola found a job at Capgemini, a great start to a career in tech. We asked Omolola if there was anything that she would do differently, now that she has finished the course and secured her first job in tech:
“If l had known that I didn’t need to be a first class student before I could learn to code, l would have started [training with CYF] earlier!”
Her advice for aspiring trainees?
“Align yourself with people who have a positive attitude. Above all, practice, practice, practice!
Interested in joining CYF as a student? Start your coding journey here.
Interested in joining the CYF community as a volunteer? Register your interest here.