Volunteer Stories: Nadia

Hey everyone, I’m Nadia Zhuk, a full-stack software engineer currently working at Intercom and living in London. I’m happy to share my impressions as a new volunteer at Code Your Future.

Nadia has found a way to give back through CYF

Discovering volunteering with CYF

I had done little volunteering before joining Code Your Future, but I’d been interested in giving back to the community for a while. I didn’t know anyone in CYF, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this opportunity when I applied.

So far, my experience has been very fulfilling. As a Personal Development (PD) trainer, my role is to help trainees improve their soft skills, such as presentation, public speaking, teamwork, time management, planning, giving and receiving feedback. These skills sometimes receive less attention than hard skills like programming, yet it is impossible to build a successful career in tech without mastering them.

Joining a CYF volunteering team

Within my volunteering role, I’ve facilitated several PD study sessions and other volunteers and led a few of these sessions myself. I’ve also had an opportunity to lead several Q&A sessions with trainees where they asked me questions about finding their first software engineering job and building a successful career in tech.

Nadia delivering a Personal Development session in London

Meeting these trainees and answering their questions has been the highlight of my volunteering with Code Your Future so far. I am a self-taught software engineer and still consider myself relatively new to this field. Still, I had already forgotten how many questions I had about this industry when I was learning to code. Talking to CYF trainees reminded me how tough it can be to break into tech and how crucial it is to have external support when you are just starting. It has also helped me better understand what kind of educational content I need to be producing to help as many people from non-STEM backgrounds enter tech as possible.

Being inspired by CYF trainees

Talking to CYF trainees has also been a humbling experience. Many of them have faced hardships and obstacles on their road to tech careers that I’ve never had to face. Many of them have had to reinvent themselves to get started on this new career journey in a new country. Their stories inspire me. Their courage, tenacity and curiosity give me hope. 

I feel privileged to have an opportunity to share my story and support these trainees on their journey. I also feel privileged to work alongside other volunteers who are doing their best to make the trainees’ experience as smooth as possible and ensure they are well prepared for their new careers in tech. 

Being part of Code Your Future reminded me that having community support is crucial for people learning to code. Simple acts of kindness and compassion can have a massive impact on the direction of someone’s life. It has also taught me a lot about the value of devotion and empathy and how people can build something truly impactful together.

Growing skills while helping others

I’m still fairly early in my journey at CYF, but volunteering here has already helped me improve my public speaking and mentoring skills. These skills are valuable in many fields, especially in tech, where sharing knowledge and onboarding new engineers is something you are expected to do well as a software engineer, particularly as you move up the career ladder. 

Being a volunteer brings everyone their benefits, from a chance to gain new skills necessary for career advancement to a sense of deep fulfilment in community work. Please check out our volunteer roles and apply to find out what benefits volunteering will bring you.