Coding skills for non-geeks only! A smart strategy to train human resources and retain talents in the Aveiro Region - Zoom-in
Applications are just closed, for the “Aveiro Tech City Bootcamp 2nd edition” with more than 150 submissions, from all those interested in the program.
But let's see what this ambitious program consists of: it is an integral part of the "tech" strategy of the city of Aveiro and an important element to stimulate STEAM skills and coding skills connected to the process of digitization and empowerment of citizens who benefit from the UIA Aveiro Steam City project.
Aveiro Tech City Bootcamp is an intensive training program, aimed at the unemployed, students or employed professionals looking for new career opportunities.
Aveiro Tech City Bootcamp aims to promote coding competences among citizens who wish to work in ICT ecosystem as Full Stack Developers. They will be taught by professionals (coders form Academia de Código) how to code through Java and Java Script programming languages.
Academia de Código (the Training partner) has an interesting track record: they provided training for 200 students in different sites (Portugal, Netherlands and Cape Verde) with >90% employability rate.
The Bootcamp, that is certified by Employment and Labour Relations General-Direction (DGERT), includes a set of intensive and onsite training classes, delivered over 14 (fourteen) weeks, in classroom context, and 14 (fourteen) weeks, in work environment context.
At the moment, training sessions in the classroom went online, due to the covid-19 emergency, for those selected from the 1st edition of Aveiro Tech City Bootcamp. The second part of the 1st edition program (14-week on the job training) is about to start, it is foreseen - at the time this article is written - to start in June 2020 for the first 20 participants. Here is an example of companies that will host some of the Bootcamp participants:
Bootcamp training represents a global investment of € 6,000.00 (six thousand euros), distributed as follows:
a) € 4.200,00 (four thousand and two hundred euros) supported by an Employer/Company that will host the work environment training of the participant and, after that, eventually propose a job offer.
b) € 1.200,00 (one thousand and two hundred euros) incurred by the Municipality of Aveiro as a way to enhance the training and the establishment of talent in ICT areas.
c) € 600,00 (six hundred euros) paid by the participants as an opportunity to obtain specialized training in areas with a high employability rate. The € 600,00 owed by the participants is paid directly to the project partner, Code For All, Lda.
But why companies are looking for coders, and why people should learn these ICT skills, that in our collective imagination seem a type of knowledge to be attributed only to geeks?
Apart from companies in the technology sector, there are an increasing number of businesses relying on computer code. Programmers are more in-demand than ever before, and as the world gets more technical, developers will need to be more agile and more well-versed in current technologies. Software engineers could just as easily find themselves working at Apple, as they could in a hospital, or at an automotive manufacturer. Programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average.
The coding bootcamp industry has been around for more than 5 years and coding bootcamps grads are filling a high demand for skilled tech talent. It seems also that companies, especially corporates and start-ups, have reached fully trust in bootcamp grads and stopped looking just for Computer Sciences graduates, and this explains why coding bootcamps are growing so fast in numbers.
But let’s see the initial results of the 1st Aveiro “TECH City Bootcamp”:
- Approx. 200 applicants for 20 places in total
- Half of them were undergraduates
- Only 25% applied from the Aveiro Region, as a confirmation of the attractiveness of the policy
- 30 y.o. was the average age
- 55% had an engineering/math background in their studies
These first results were very encouraging for Aveiro policy makers and also induced them, due to the covid-19 emergency, to launch a brand-new initiative that was not established since the beginning.
Aveiro Municipality wanted to invest, once again, in a moment of deep crisis, on people and on their ability to enhance the long-time of the quarantine to enrich their skills background. Thanks to the partner with whom they were already working on the Bootcamps, the city launched a new Introduction to Computer Science free online learning course, called “Code Hero”. The program is appropriate for all beginning coders and no previous acquired skills are required.
This course was aimed initially at high school students residing in Aveiro but, given the initial enthusiasm shown by the candidates, the possibility of applying was given to all +18 y.o..
A strategy that aims to enhance STEM skills cannot ignore coding. Two conclusive points for reflection on this issue may be the followings: given that public resources are a scarce commodity, would it be wise to dedicate initiatives such as coding bootcamps to certain targets? For example, women? Many programs in favour of STEM, in the rest of the world, do target women, who are most at risk of exclusion, according to statistics, from studying STEM subjects and then, consequently, finding a job in this sector.
Women and (hence the second food for thought) young girls, in particular. It is worth noting that the offer of courses in coding and robotics is expanding, especially in terms of the offer from the private sector, towards the youngsters, even towards kids and toddlers. For example, more and more kindergartens, mostly private, do now offer these subjects in the curriculum.
Aveiro, thanks to the “Tech city Labs” which is part of Aveiro STEAM City UIA project, has equipped all primary public schools supplying them with "tech" workstations, to bring students closer to experiments in digital manufacturing and 3D printing and - at the same time - has provided training for teachers to make them capable of using those devices .
The Municipality also wisely used part of the EU funds, considering the covid-19 emergency, to equip younger students with laptops that would allow them to take lessons from home.
However, the theme of segmenting the offer of education in programming and robotics for different age groups remains open: making young adults benefit from the courses allows responding to an emergency and a contingent situation: the lack of tech talents on the job market today. Combining these courses with other initiatives dedicated to children, completes, in a smart way, this strategy and represents an investment for future generations.