Leeds-List - Leeds' ultimate magazine and guide

Fancy a Career Change? Get into Tech With This FREE Software Developer Course For Women

· Ali Turner · Discussion

Ladies, this is your chance to learn how to code for free – so don't miss out.

Sky's Get into Tech

Sky's Get into Tech initiative aims to provide a unique and supportive environment in which women with little or no previous technical experience can learn some of the skills necessary to begin a career in software development. Apply now.

In the tech industry, women only make up 18% of the workforce – but Sky is trying to change that with Get into Tech.

Women once dominated the tech industry. Back in the 60s, 70s and even the 80s, programming was considered to be an administrative job, so most of the people doing it were women. But fast forward thirty years and it’s a very different story. The tech industry is booming and it’s dominated by men. It’s not good for women and it’s not good for the industry because we need diversity to make better digital products – which is why Sky has launched Get into Tech, a new initiative that offers free training to women who want to start a career in software development.

Get your foot in the door and start an exciting new career

“The initiative aims to provide a unique and supportive environment in which women with little or no previous technical experience can learn some of the skills necessary to begin a career in Software Development,” Renee Hunt, Director of Digital Platforms at Sky, explained. She’s obviously at the top her game now, but she started out as a programmer, which just goes to show how far you can go in the industry.

So what the heck is a software developer, or a programmer, if you want to go old school? Basically, it’s someone who writes instructions that a computer can read. Yes, in code. There are various different languages that you can use, but once you’ve got the hang of one, it’s a whole lot easier to learn the others. And you can do all kinds of things with them – you can build mobile apps, websites and streaming services, you can even make complex commands that protect systems from cyber attacks or identify a person through their fingerprint. Pretty cool right?

And that’s not the only reason why you’ll love it. This isn’t your usual 9-to-5. It’s dynamic, interactive and ever-changing. You’ll work as a team, often in pairs, towards one shared goal. Most of the time, you can wear what you like and stick your headphones on if you’re working through a tough problem. It’s the kind of relaxed, chilled out atmosphere that people dream of working in – but it’s also incredibly challenging, so you’ve got all the bases covered. It makes you wonder why there aren’t more women going into tech.

You don’t need to be a geek to go into the tech industry

Forget the stereotypes, you don’t need to be a geek to be a techie. In fact, you can come from just about any background. They’re looking for logical thinkers, problem solvers with inquisitive minds who want to know how something works. Maths and science buffs will fit right in, but there’s no set ‘type’ here. Creativity is just as important because you have to look past the obvious and create something from nothing.

“Order and structure, having an idea in your head about how to organise things – that makes you an amazing software developer. But so does thinking about ethereal things you can’t see or touch. That’s why I’m so keen on getting a more diverse set of people through the door. If we got all our developers from science and maths, they’d all approach it in the same way,” Renee told us. “What is exciting to me is bringing people with a diverse skillset to the practice and watching them approach a problem in different ways, because you get different and highly productive results out of it. I’ve seen people who studied theology and electric engineering excel as software developers – one of our top performers was previously a librarian.”

You might be surprised to discover the parallels between coding and your personal talents. Maybe you understand how to order things on screen, perhaps you know how to create a harmony or you might just have a really active imagination – they’re all really great strengths for a software developer. And Get into Tech is your chance to see if you like it, without the risk – while picking up all the essential skills you need to get an entry-level position.

Start the new year by learning how to code

The next Get into Tech course runs from Monday 15th January 2018 to Wednesday 25th April 2017 at Leeds Dock. It starts with five intensive days of training, but the rest of the course takes place in the evenings, so you’ll do one lesson from 7pm to 9:30pm every Wednesday. That’s not to say it’s easy, of course, you’ll be given coursework to complete, and you’ll need to work with your classmates, just like you would in a real office environment.

The course itself covers everything from current technology and trends to agile development, databases and commonly used languages like PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. You’ll learn how to make a product from beginning to end and work with a mentor to get a feel for what it’s like to be a software developer in a business like Sky.

What you have to remember is that this course has been created by software developers for software developers, so it’s going to put you in a really good position to get a job. It’s not guaranteed, but you might even get a place in the Sky Academy after your course, which means you could keep studying, earning money as you go.

This is your chance to learn how to code for free, with no strings

Get into Tech is an incredible opportunity. This is your chance to see if you like coding, to see if you’re good at it, with no strings attached. By the end of the course, you’ll have a solid grounding in software development – you’ll know if it’s something you want to pursue and if it is, you’ll be ready to do it. If it’s not, well, no harm done.

“The whole point of this is to provide a supportive environment for people to learn, I don’t think you should worry about if you’re going to be good at it, you don’t know if you’ll be good until you’ve tried, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who are really curious and this is the opportunity to satisfy that curiosity,” Renee told us. “The fact that you’re curious is exciting to me, that’s half the battle. Just give it a go. Who knows where it might lead…”

Hurry, apply for your place by Friday 17th November 2017

Get into Tech is absolutely free, and that’s amazing, but there are only limited places and you’ll have to be quick if you want to get one. The good news is, each and every one of them will be given to a women to help close the gender gap in the tech industry. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th November 2017, so get yours in as soon as possible.