Another day, another job search in the café with free WiFi. The person behind the counter already knows you, and gives you a half-sad nod. More than 600 positions for developers in Leipzig, blah blah, says some website you forgot to bookmark. None for you, anyway, because you don’t know how to code.
The good news is that, well, you’re probably sort of coded to code already. Because you use it everyday for the most basic tasks and searches, and have probably been using it all your life if you’re under 40 years old. Think web-based applications from anything to finding out whether you’ll need a raincoat today to getting medical help or yes, precisely – looking for a job.
With the baby boomer generation starting to retire, and millennials – the internet generation – becoming the main mass of workers and consumers, web-based applications are now the norm. Simply put, millennials want digital solutions to their problems, and companies that are not primarily digital must adapt to that if they want to survive.
That isn’t cheap or easy, and might require a whole change of ways.
Among the current employment trends in Leipzig and many other places is to try to hire from among a diverse pool of local-based digital natives for whom, as the name suggests, coding might come more naturally.
A light bulb shines above your head. Eureka. Onomatopoeia. The person behind the counter at the café with free WiFi perks up.
“These companies actually need me!”
But then you get quickly deflated as you remember that, oh yeah, you don’t know how to code. Cue in sad horn music, and eye roll from the person behind the café counter.
“Why me? With my background in [insert penniless *ahem* humanities discipline], limited German, and a deep-rooted phobia of mathematics?”
Having a computer science degree does not guarantee you’ll be the right fit for a job as a web developer. Sure, you’ll know how to code and build algorithms, but in the real world, the problems that you’ll need to address are not textbook math problems – they are real people problems. So having studied something else might actually come in handy.
Soft skills such as empathy, good communication, creativity, open-mindedness, and being team- and community-driven are key to this profession, despite what the movies might tell you.
Your personality and drive to solve problems in everyday life or the world at large – first for yourself as a curious, conscientious consumer, and then for others – may be far more important to becoming a developer, a coder, than any specific degree. Companies are increasingly turning to candidates from outside the traditional tracks they used to look for, from experience and necessity.
Code Camp Leipzig (CCL) tells us that you can learn how to code in three months – enough to become a junior developer and likely land a job or paid internship at a company’s Leipzig branch.
Think of it not as a complete career change, but as adding to your skillset to increase your chances of getting a decent job in a nice city. Many developers have backgrounds in the social sciences and the arts. Not all of them have technical backgrounds, and advanced math skills are not necessary for what we’re talking about here. To further hammer the point home: A broad knowledge background is a great asset.
“Learning how to code is about learning to ask the right questions,” said CCL co-founder Taylor Harvey. “Most developers will tell you that they spend 80 percent of their time googling, whether it’s for building their programs or for fixing the problems they created.”
A Leipzig-based startup, CCL aims to produce junior software developers through an in-house training course teaching the coding language java script. Participants will learn the basics of coding and how to – you guessed it – ask the right questions and find the answers, so that they can afterwards join a team of developers at a company.
The goal is to become a productive worker, making web-based solutions that are needed in the market via not only technical skills, but by being able to interact well with and complement co-workers of different backgrounds and coding levels.
The CCL team will choose 10 people to participate in their first class, which starts on 23 September 2019. The three-month course, with a 40-hour load, will be taught in English and take place at the local branch of the international company PRISMA. The energy sector company intends to hire two of the 10 people selected, while the other eight will have the opportunity to get internships at other companies.
A varied team of instructors will take these 10 participants from little or no knowledge of coding and web-app development up to junior full-stack developers.
Their goal is to have a class with a gender balance of 50/50, addressing the gender gap the tech world is infamous for. So women are very much encouraged to apply.
The CCL three-month course does not lead to a degree. It is also not an Umschulung (or retraining) as provided by companies catering to people registered with the Job Center.
This is a hands-on, market-oriented program, in English. It’s designed to give you the tools and work experience to learn how to code and significantly boost your chances of landing a job aligned with the current market demand, or increase your skills towards starting your own enterprise.
Selected applicants will be asked to take an online personality assessment, and those fitting the profile of CCL will then be invited to an interview round with the team. Those applying to work for PRISMA will also have an interview with the company. While this may sound like a laborious selection process, the CCL team designed it to make sure that all 10 participants can match the company culture.
Harvey elaborated that “we are looking to build a community that solves problems through creativity, to make the world a better place. We are looking for people who give a fuck about the community they live in, who love solving problems and who are willing to take risks.”
Those interested can now apply through this form, with the application closing on 4 August 2019.
From the 10 selected pupils, three of them will get a free ride.
Two will be selected and sponsored by the partner company PRISMA, and may get a position after the course ends, depending on their performance. The other eight students will take part in the course and may be provided with an internship at the end of the three-month program, also depending on their performance and demand from other companies. One of them, a high-potential candidate, will receive a full scholarship.
The other seven students will need to pay a fee of €1500 for the entire program.
The folks at CCL are looking forward to applications from people who care about the community and want to solve issues by applying their creativity, coupled with both innate and newly gained tech-savviness. And let’s face it, people who want to learn how to code to get a damn job… but to make the world better in the process!