Digital skills regardless of nationality, age, or gender
At Cloudflight, we are looking for the greatest minds and support every initiative and organization that aspires to diversity and enables inclusion. One of the communities where we strive to act as mentors and contributors is everyone codes (EC): a programming academy for everyone. The goal of EC is to equip people with digital skills, regardless of nationality, age, or gender. Our goal is to reach, attract, engage, and retain diverse talents and provide them a safe space where they can grow.
Last year was the first time we provided a game of our Cloudflight Coding Contest (CCC) for the closing event of the EC program. Because it was a resounding success, we will be doing it again this year – this time completely online.
The full-time programs of EC are currently available in both Graz and Vienna. They include programming, development skills, coding best practices, teamwork, and soft skills combined with innovative learning methods. We talked to Petra Bilikova, Event & Community Manager at EC about diversity and bias on the labor market as well as collaboration with partners and companies.
Empower the next software development generation
“Five years ago, when we started our journey, we realized that the community feeling within the learning group is key” – explained Petra. “We believe that this is still one of our major USPs. Our schedule differs from the classic educational approach because it allows more space for the individual needs of our participants. It has just the right ratio between mentoring sessions, group work and individual practice. On top of this, short feedback loops on performance allow the participants to “fail fast but learn faster”.”
“Overall, in every activity we undertake, we aim to instill a deeper understanding of the topic instead of glossing over many things within a short period of time. Throughout the past years, we learned that our target group, which currently consists mainly of unemployed people, is highly motivated and comes from unique backgrounds. Their potential, combined with our expertise and the unique educational concept, creates a win-win situation for all involved. Companies are able to recruit exceptional candidates, our participants gain a career advantage, and the rate of unemployment decreases.”
Statistic: career after graduation
According to Petra, after successfully finishing a program with everyone codes, participants are actively supported in finding a job. “Our main event is the annual Employability Day, where our graduates have the opportunity to present themselves and their projects to our corporate partners and get to know hiring managers in a relaxed yet professional environment. They also have the chance to stay in touch within our alumni program and receive support from our placement partners during their job search. We understand that because of the COVID-19 situation, it may take a little longer to find a job. Nevertheless, around 60% of those who started the program ended up finding a job in the field of software development.”
Bias against graduates from coding schools
“We believe that it is not enough to learn a few magic tricks to build a good-looking website” – professes Petra. “Unlike other programs, one of our main benefits is that we have a large number of applicants each year. Combined with our rigorous application process, this allows us to select participants with the greatest fit and potential. They must create a video of themselves and go through multiple rounds of interviews/group assessments. This ensures that all of our participants are highly motivated. One result of this is that multiple participants voluntarily create additional coding examples and materials, which they share amongst each other. You simply don’t get this kind of engagement in a traditional school-like environment.”
Petra emphasizes that the companies that hire their graduates, confirm that they are not only able to write unit tests but truly understand why they are important and what the trade-offs are. “Our participants also learn how to solve real problems – something that will be more valuable later on which is often not included in other curricula. With their high motivation and the ability to learn quickly, our graduates can be rapidly on-boarded in their new jobs.”
Partnerships and mentoring from companies
“Successful partnerships include e.g. mentoring by senior employees in the field of software development. Our partners also provide Q&A sessions and workshops on topics related to IT and attend our Employability Day, where they can hire our graduates – which is obviously something that they are looking for. We want to work with those who believe in what we believe in. We always strive to collaborate with organizations that think that diversity is crucial and people should like what they are doing.”
CCC as a flagship community event
Together with Cloudflight, the first everyone codes coding contest was held last year. “It soon became clear that such an event will become our yearly flagship community event” – confessed Petra. “We got the chance to use the unique Catcoder platform from CCC as well as the knowledge transfer from the organization. We also enjoyed working with the driven, professional, and highly motivated team at Cloudflight. We are thrilled that we can organize this event that is all about coding, fun, great vibes, exchange of ideas, teamwork and connections.”
Code review with Cloudflight developers
Petra is glad to share the biggest advantages of our cooperation: “The highlight and a huge benefit for us is a small pilot-project: three winning teams will be part of a code-review session held by Cloudflight-developers. This is something incredibly valuable for our graduates, who will be able to review their codes step by step and exchange ideas with experienced practitioners. With this hands-on experience, they will be able to improve their skills even faster – and that is awesome!”