codebar, which enables women, underrepresented groups and LGBTQ people to learn computer languages and code in a safe, friendly environment is marking its second anniversary 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.
Diversity is Strength
CodeClan’s Antonio Goncalves, one of the programme leads at codebar said: “codebar is very important as it brings a diverse community of students together, which is hugely important for the long-term benefit of the tech industry.
“Having coaches volunteer their time for free, to help 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.”
“We’ve seen incredible uptake in attendance over the past two 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 our wonderful hosts and sponsors.”
Pim Sritawan, a student at codebar (and CodeClan), told us: “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.”
Inspiration For Mentors
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.”
Digital Skills Shortage
A growing range of 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, with almost 13,000 technical vacancies across the country each year.