“Be brave, be bold” University of Birmingham Coding Skills Bootcamp

The University of Birmingham is partnering with Tech She Can in its mission to #ChangeTheRatio of women in technology. As a strategic partner it is committed to ensuring inclusive access to technology training and creating the right environment to attract, retain and advance females in technology. The University of Birmingham Coding Bootcamps have been very successful in increasing diversity in the tech industry, with students going on to work for Gymshark, the BBC and the Economist. Here we share Sumaya’s story.   

[Video: Skills Bootcamps at the University of Birmingham – YouTube

Coding Skills Bootcamps have emerged as a popular alternative to more traditional routes into tech careers, providing people early in their careers and career changers with a fast track to becoming proficient coders. These short-term, intensive training programs offer a hands-on and practical approach to learning coding skills, enabling people to enter the tech industry swiftly.

In a very competitive market, where the digital skills gap continues to widen, it is also a great way for employers to recruit, retain and upskill staff.

Sumaya Hassan, 30, started her Skills Bootcamp journey during lockdown. Before joining, she had an interest in web design. Speaking to The Sun, she explains: “I’d built a website using instructions I found online, and couldn’t believe I could create something out of nothing just like that,” says Sumaya. 

“I wanted to learn more, but I didn’t think it was possible for me – I didn’t have the money, and it felt too late to learn something new.” 

“I discovered there were short courses at the University of Birmingham,” she explains. “So, I applied to join one of their coding bootcamps.”

With lessons conducted online in the evenings and at weekends, Sumaya had the flexibility to fit it around her family commitments. 

“It was challenging, but so much fun,” she says. “I was juggling a lot, but I received a lot of practical and emotional support from the university.

“My favourite project was when a group of us used the programming languages we’d learnt to build a mindfulness and journalling app. It came out beautifully, and seeing what we had achieved made me realise a career in coding was definitely for me.”

During her final project, Sumaya was approached by the clothing brand Gymshark and was offered a job as a front-end website developer.

“I was so proud of what I’d achieved during the bootcamp, and now I have a new career, which I never dreamt would happen,” she says. “If you want to learn a new skill, regardless of your age or background, I’d say go for it because your life could change for the better.”

Coding boot camps are geared towards people of all backgrounds, including complete beginners with little or no prior coding experience. They have contributed to increasing diversity in the tech sector by attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities. 

Kerry Blondell, a recruiter from Cognizant, explains, “The impact of bootcamps has allowed us to be a lot more agile in terms of how we provide recruitment services to our clients. It allows us to target specific skills as well, and it allows us to target a bigger breadth of the type of people that are coming into Cognizant.

“The main benefits from bootcamps as an employer means it allows us to react a lot quicker for what the business and client need. It also allows us to attract a larger talent pool in terms of diversity, inclusion and especially social mobility as well. 

“The advice that I can give to other employers about bootcamps: just be brave, be bold, and go against the grain!”

The University of Birmingham’s flexible Skills Bootcamps allow people to gain the technical and digital skills needed for their career by studying alongside existing commitments. Find out more about the University of Birmingham Skills Bootcamps

If you’d like to join our mission to #ChangeTheRatio of women in technology, please get in touch to find out more. 

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