codebar, which enables women, underrepresented groups and LGBTQ to learn computer language and code in a safe, friendly environment is marking its second year anniversary since launching in Edinburgh with a record cohort of students and coaches.
Originally launched in London in 2013, codebar now has 23 active chapters worldwide, including Edinburgh, where there are currently 287 students and 142 coaches.
Antonio Goncalves, one of the programme lead at codebar who also works at digital skills academy CodeClan in Edinburgh, said: “codebar is so important as it brings a community of students together, while diversity is also very important in the tech industry. Having coaches volunteer their time for free, helping our students that are curious about what code is, is awesome. The networking that happens before the start of every session is amazing and all our students and coaches love the feeling of achievement.”
Antonio Goncalves added “We’ve seen incredible uptake in attendance over the past 2 years, and we’d like to see that continue over the coming months and years. In particular, we’re keen to reach more people from the underrepresented and marginalised communities we’re here to support and will be focusing on that. The best thing about this whole initiative is that it’s giving people the opportunity to learn a new, highly relevant skill for the current job market, and it’s totally free, all thanks to the hosts and sponsors”
Pim Sritawan, a student at codebar, said: “codebar gave me the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, and learn more about the tech industry, preparing me for an intensive bootcamp that I recently undertook. Because of codebar, I discovered my love for coding, I’ve made some great friends and I’ve been able to kick start my new career in tech.”
Kate Preston, who has been a mentor at codebar since becoming an engineer at software development studio Cultivate, said: “codebar’s focus on ensuring that people who are traditionally underrepresented in tech is what initially inspired me to become a mentor. It has been a great way for me to support people who are excited to learn about programming in developing the skills they need to move into the tech industry. That it has also helped me to improve as a mentor and a communicator, skills that I can take back to my job as an engineer at Cultivate, is an added bonus.”
Widespread industry research indicates that greater diversity in the workplace leads to better productivity and economic outcomes. At the same time, Scotland is facing an escalating skills shortage in the digital technologies economy. The latest Tech Nation report identifies almost 60,000 people working in digital tech in Scotland across nearly 10,000 businesses.