“All-embracing, extensive and comprehensive”. This is how Julián Varela (25, Argentina) describes the new IT Support & Security online course at MigraCode. Shortly after his arrival in Barcelona from Buenos Aires, he decided to register to increase his employment possibilities. “I thought it was an excellent opportunity, so I couldn’t miss it”.
Julián speaks of “opportunity” when referring to the course because, designed by Google and powered by Coursera, MigraCode’s partner INCO Academy offers a series of scholarships to MigraCode students enabling them to have free access to the course. As Joana Serrat, one of the coordinators of the program, explains, its purpose is “to train people in technology, especially those in more difficult positions and who have more difficulties entering the sector”. Through this program, students gain the in-demand skills that prepare them to be job-ready and, once completed, receive a Google-licenced Professional Certificate allowing them to apply for basic to advanced tech support roles.
Taught through the platform of Coursera, the content is structured around five units, all connected to introduce the student into the world of technology. Thiago Luiz (30, Brazil) has also received a scholarship from INCO Academy and MigraCode. “Coursera is fantastic because we have both text and audiovisual information, so setting the new knowledge is easier”, he says. As Julián, Thiago decided to apply for the course to find a new job and continue his training in technology. Indeed, he had already graduated from the Web Development course, although no prior experience is required to do the IT course.
Another strength of the course lies in its flexibility, as it can be completed from two to five months, depending on the availability of each student. For example, Julián finished it in the record time of five weeks, while Thiago, who also started in April, is still doing it due to busy work schedules.
Apart from being eligible for the scholarship, MigraCode students enjoy the support from MigraCode mentor Joana. She designs a study plan and helps the students organize themselves, as well as meeting them regularly to exchange impressions or solve possible questions. “Through these meetings, I have realized that the course is easy enough for most people to finish it, but at the same time it demands strong commitment and concentration”, Joana explains. In this sense, the meetings are intended to balance between the self-learning experience and the benefits of enjoying the support from MigraCode.
However, this support goes even beyond the meetings. Students can enjoy other services from MigraCode, such as joining CodeWomen, which supports and encourages female students; and CodeBuddies, which consists of one-on-one support by one of the volunteers from MigraCode with experience in web development and coding. Finally, students can also access free language classes, as well as psychological and legal assistance.
“I posted that I’m doing this course on Linkedin… Some companies have already contacted me!”Thiago, MigraCode student
When being asked about their experience with the course, both Julián and Thiago smile. “It’s a course that opens your mind… I would do it again”, assures Julián. Meanwhile, Thiago explains that he posted it on Linkedin. “Some companies have already contacted me! That never happened before”, he laughs. For Joana, the first round of applications has been successful. “After it, a lot of people want to do the other course that we offer in MigraCode, which means they really enjoyed it”.
For this reason, while the IT Support & Security course is meant to be an introduction – although it demands commitment and motivation -, the Web Development course is more advanced and can be done as a continuation of the first one. As they explore different areas of technology, both complement each other well. However, for Thiago, joining this course after the Web Development one has also been beneficial. “With the IT Support & Security course, I have learned the basic knowledge to solve any problem with computers by myself”, he points out.
However, despite the successes, there are also some challenges to be faced in the future. The number of scholarships is limited, although there are still some to be given. Thus, MigraCode is looking for candidates who can make the most of them. As Joana explains, “we want to open the door of technology to more people”. Because of this, MigraCode is especially looking for more women to do the course. “The field of technology is highly masculinized, and women are hard to find. But they are highly needed in technology and we want to encourage them to join this course as well”, she remarks.
Students don’t hesitate when recommending others to give it a try. “If you want to enter this sector and gain knowledge, this course is a great option to start with”, Thiago says. “It might be demanding, but it is worth it because it opens your mind”, Julián insists. The first application process was open last February and around 25 students received a scholarship. Now, the application process is open again… and there are still available scholarships! What are you waiting for to apply?
This project receives the support of Ajuntament de Barcelona.