WeThinkCode_ seeks volunteer mentors to help build SA’s next generation of software developers

August 20, 2021 in Mentoring, News, Software, Women in Tech

WeThinkCode_ is looking for experienced software practitioners to mentor its second-year students and help build South Africa’s next generation of software programmers.

Industry mentors will form part of the software programming academy’s new Volunteer Programme, introduced as part of its revised curriculum, which is scheduled to begin next month. 

WeThinkCode_ is an independent South African software training academy that moulds the sharpest young minds from underserved populations into excellent software developers and programmers. The courses are fully sponsored by corporate businesses and funding organisations.

Encouraging  industry mentorship

Mentorship is a core component of the new curriculum and is partly responsible for the 92 percent student retention among the academy’s 2020 cohort.

Nyari Samushonga, CEO of WeThinkCode_, explains, “WTC_ uses a peer-to-peer training methodology that reinforces a structured technical training path. Mentorship support was introduced for first year students by allocating high performing second year students as tech mentors. First years were all put in groups of six and each group was allocated a mentor.

We’re now inviting tech industry experts to mentor our second-year students. The goal is to prepare our students for the transition from the academy to the workplace. In this way, mentors can add enormous value,” says Samushonga.

These external mentors should ideally be experienced software developers or engineers and will be expected to guide a group of between four to six students over a six-month period starting in September.  This commitment will involve a minimum of one hour every two weeks (12 hours total commitment) to align with the curriculum project iterations.

“This programme will suit the professional who enjoys coaching and helping young teams grapple with programming problems. WTC_will supply the tools, context and links with other mentors in an opt-in monthly coaching circle,” says Gina Stoltz, Head of Community at WTC_.

Holistic participation

Apart from group mentorship, WTC_ is also looking for volunteers to assist all students in other areas of its programme.

“In our Interview Readiness Programme, we need members of the tech community to take part in a series of simulated technical interviews. These interviews will help students acquire improved communication and self-reflection skills, enabling them to present themselves with confidence in an actual interview. 

Volunteers for the Interview Readiness Programme are ideally members of the software development community with experience in technical recruiting and hiring,” says Stoltz.

 “For our planned WomenThinkCode= Meetups, volunteers can opt in to host monthly meetups specifically for women students in our programme.  Finally, we are looking for members of the tech community to participate in our community events calendar by hosting one-hour talks to inspire students and alumni by sharing their journeys in the industry and the work in which they are involved.”

“This is an exciting phase for our academy, and we are seeing real results in terms of student performance, retention and engagement, due to the approach we have taken with the new curriculum.   We would like members of the tech community to be part of the journey and help prepare our students to be life- and job-ready upon completion of the course,” Samushonga concludes. 

If you are interested in volunteering or know anyone in your network that could be suitable for any area in our Volunteer Programme, please take a moment to SIGN UP HERE or go to www.wethinkcode.co.za/volunteer.

/ends.

About WeThinkCode_

WeThinkCode_ is an independent South African software training academy that was launched in 2015 and welcomed its first coding students in May 2016.  It searches out the sharpest young minds in underserved populations, connects them with global thought leaders and cutting-edge technologies and moulds them into excellent software developers and programmers. Our mission is to train Africa’s next generation of software engineers and, in so doing, drive the digitisation of African business. In 2019, WomenThinkCode= was established to grow the number of women software programmers in the technology sector.

We partner with organisations looking to recruit top tech talent through the sponsorship of our students, thereby providing access to the skills pool of WeThinkCode_ interns and graduates.

WeThinkCode_ has placed hundreds of talented individuals within numerous local and international partner companies across a range of industries.  We have a track record that includes a partner base of over 55 companies and a 92% success rate in securing employment for the over 500 graduates of our software development programme.

Woman in Tech of the Week – Jade Abbott

April 23, 2018 in Engineering, Profiles, Software, Woman of the Week

Woman in Tech of the Week – Jade Abbott

Name: Jade Abbott
Designation: Senior Software Engineer and Data Scientist
Company: Retro Rabbit

What do you do every day? Developing software and analysing data. I mostly develop backend systems, in a variety of languages, for a variety of sectors – golang is my current favourite programming language. In the past couple of years, I’ve been able to focus on machine learning – my true passion. I’ve been lucky enough to take a machine learning project from beginning to end – from wrangling data, to building machine models, analysing data, to building the scalable infrastructure. I love seeing my work in use! It’s the best feeling ever. When I’m not doing that I’m trying to teach people about machine learning – whether doing guest lectures, showing a CEO the impact it can make or sometimes helping enthusiasts get their hands dirty.

How did you get into the tech space? My dad, as a musician and general nerd, always had computer parts lying around. I was very young when he built me my first computer. I remember puzzling over the registry and wondering why my dad told me not to touch it and fiddling in hex editors to make the cat in that one game extra fluffy and pink. He also introduced me to science-fiction – everything from Star Trek to Isaac Asimov. My mother was a software developer before I was born so she always encouraged me to go into software anyways. I think I was 12 and I knew that I wanted to build my own artificial intelligence friend. I’d say I am one of the lucky ones

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? I was at an Anita Borg Retreat at Google a couple of years back and I was stressing about whether to pursue a career in academia or to carry on in industry. So I asked a Google developer a panel about which to do and she said “Don’t stress when making a decision between two good choices”. I can’t remember her name, but I’ll always remember what she said.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? In software development at least, the philosophy is to fail early and fail often. Try many things (ALL the things). Don’t be afraid if you don’t get it right the first time. Failure is part of the journey.
Surround yourself with people in tech. Go to meetups, hackathons and join the ZaTech slack. They are fun and friendly and there is loads of opportunity to learn
It’s possible to begin a degree in technology part-time while you’re working. Do it! If a degree is not an option – pick up a couple of courses.
Blog about your learnings: https://medium.com/@racheltho/why-you-yes-you-should-blog-7d2544ac1045

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something new and the opportunity to build something cool.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? AAAH! hard question. These 3: Grace Hopper, Rachel Thomas, Patti Smith

Twitter: @alienelf
Blog: https://medium.com/@alienelf/
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jade-abbott-5b3a692a/

 

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