Deep Impact and Powercoders

When coding changes lives

Two developers from the Powercoders initiative joined Deep Impact in January

Last year, we started working with Powercoders, a coding academy for refugees in Zurich, Lausanne and Turin and established by Christian Hirsig in 2017. Watch his inspiring TED talk here:

Two developers from the programme – Murtaza from Afghanistan and Mohammad from Syria – joined Deep Impact in January.
The three-month course, which is supported by the Swiss government, amongst others, taught them the basics of HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP in a class of 20. They learnt alongside people with very diverse educational backgrounds: from beginners to experienced IT professionals.

When they were ready, they attended a Career Day to meet companies interested in working with Powercoders graduates. There, companies and students had a ‘speed-dating’ session to learn a bit more about each other, then the academy matched coders with companies after exploring feedback from both.

To build their experience, well-matched students go through the interview process and are awarded an internship. Being able to have an internship on their CV helps them get a permanent job or an apprenticeship after their studies.

Sam, our CTO, is impressed by the organisation’s mission. Having grown up in a developing country himself, he was aware very early on that not everyone gets the same chances in education. He sees working with Powercoders as a way of helping on a small scale. “We are always looking for good people” is not just a statement on our website – we mean it. We’d rather work with people who have the right potential than someone who can start on a certain date or already has a specific skill set. The Powercoders programme is a no-brainer for us.

But let’s hear from our two Powercoders directly: how were their first few weeks?
Murtaza liked how he could get to know the whole team and see their responsibilities from the start: “I especially appreciate the demos we do every Friday, so I can see what everyone has been up to in the week”.

Mohammad started out as a front-end developer but changed after two weeks to UX / UI design. They still meet their Powercoders class every month, to share experiences and problems.

We’re happy to have them and are enjoying our time with them!

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