One of the goals of the AI Innovation Center is to develop Artificial Intelligence knowledge by orchestrating relevant industry events and educational programs. For this reason, the AI Innovation Center played a key role in the first chapter of CodeMasters organized in Eindhoven together with Accenture, Refugee Talent Hub and New Dutch Connections.
Learning how to code is not only an essential ability to succeed in the 21st century, but it offers immense possibilities for development. CodeMasters offers participants an opportunity to learn how to code with Python and develop themselves to eventually find a job in the Netherlands. During a 10 week bootcamp program, participants learn the basics of coding and create their own project.
Accenture founded CodeMasters in 2016 with the aim of opening the door to the skills of the future for those who need it most. Committed to this goal, Accenture the Netherlands aims to hire 100 refugees and establish 150 new mentorship opportunities between Accenture employees and refugee talent by 2025.
CodeMasters at the AI Innovation Center concludes with successful graduation ceremony
CodeMasters just witnessed its final weeks as the participants prepared to present their final project during the Closing Event and Award Ceremony on the 15th of December that took place online. For the last 10 weeks, 17 refugees from the Netherlands participated in this program.
The CodeMasters Instructors
For this chapter, the AI Innovation Center hosted the sessions and engaged with professionals in the region to find instructors who would teach the coding program and volunteers (buddies) who would like to professionally connect to the participants to guide them in their job search in the Netherlands.
The instructors for this chapter were: Dorien Lutgendorf, Reliability Specialist & Data Scientist at Holland Innovative; Sezen Acur, Research Fellow at ESI (TNO) ; Patricia Sousa, Designer Engineer at NXP and Yannic Suurmeijer, Lead Developer. Patricia and Yannic shared their experience as a CodeMaster trainer.
Learning how to code can open opportunity doors
“We live in days of fast digitization and automation, and coding is a tool that enables those technologies,” states Patricia Sousa, one of the trainers of this chapter. Patricia is originally from Brazil and works as a design engineer at NXP. She volunteered to teach the participants how to code: “Teaching is a rewarding experience and by being an instructor, I can share what I know about coding with others and also learn from them. If I can say something about coding is: Coding doesn't change the world. Coding is a skill learned by people. People change the world.”
Nowadays coding is a fundamental skill to learn
Yannic Suurmeijer is a self-taught IT professional who genuinely enjoys volunteering and connecting with people. From experience he knows the challenges of learning how to code, so he loved the opportunity to help others learn this valuable skill as a CodeMasters instructor. “Nowadays technology is part of our day-to-day lives; hence, it is extremely valuable to have fundamental knowledge of coding regardless of your job function. Furthermore, programming projects are all about problem solving, when programming you learn skills that are also transferable to other fields.” Yannic states that being part of the first CodeMasters in Eindhoven has been a very rewarding experience. I have seen all participants grow substantially during the 10 weeks of the program, both in personal development as well as in technical capabilities. Participants have been like-minded, closely collaborating, and very determined. I truly believe in the combination of sound technical capabilities and strong character, with determination anyone can land their dream job.”
The CodeMaster participants
Everyone should speak a little bit of Python
The reasons for participants to join the CodeMasters program are pretty diverse. Some joined CodeMasters in order “To expand their network and meet the right people, or learn the basics of Python, and how to use them in my future life.” While others just “Love marketing” and realise that “Python can help [them] with their career in marketing”. Additionally, some also joined for very pragmatic reasons: “It is a new skill, and it is always a great plus to your background, but adding a skill like Python can increase your chances of getting hired”.
In general, the participants understand that Python was chosen as the main focus of the CodeMasters program as “Python is globally growing fast and in the upcoming years everyone should speak a little bit of Python”. Regarding the level of the program, some realize that this track only teaches them the basics of coding and aspire to learn more in the future. For others, CodeMasters was exactly the level that they expected and “Really enjoyed the fact that it was not only focusing on the programming itself but also on introducing the Dutch market, and how to structure your goals for the future”.
All in all, the CodeMasters program not only offered the participants a deepdive in the world of coding, and Python specifically, it also helped them to build a relevant network and informed them about the multitude of opportunities that coding could offer.
Are you interested in CodeMasters or other activities at the AI Innovation Center? Contact Chief of Community Karina Garcia del Real