10 students graduated from the Digital Jersey Coding course this week. The students are from a variety of different backgrounds and a range of ages, but all had one thing in common, they wanted to learn to code.
The shortage of skilled digital workers in Jersey and globally, is well documented. In an effort to boost the local talent pool, Digital Jersey developed a coding course to take people who want to learn to code and gain an entry-level position in the industry. It’s free for students and is part-time over six months.
This is the third cohort of students to graduate from the coding course with previous students already working in the digital industry.
Digital Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, attended the graduation and congratulated the students. He told them that we live in unprecedented times following the EU referendum. “There is no doubt that we are now looking at a period of uncertainty across the UK and Europe, but Jersey is well placed to weather the effects of this change. It is so important that local students are learning coding because what they represent is fundamental to our future. Digital and coding skills are critical going forward, now even more so than ever.”
Digital industry mentors work with the coding course students to find them a suitable job in the industry. Students attend the DJ Hub two evenings a week and undertake additional learning in their spare time.
As with previous students, the graduates worked on real-life projects during the programme. One team developed software to give people a secure storage service for spare keys. The second team have rebuilt the Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s membership functionality, and the third team have built a family offices product for Vantage, which allows office staff to manage the assets, trusts and corporate holdings of wealthy families, and gives much better oversight for the client.
The students are from a range of different backgrounds, Perry Marquer, a former car paint sprayer for 17 years is now working as a software developer for Codentia, as a result of the course. “I’m now doing something I love doing, it’s really changed my life.” Perry had been self-learning coding and tried applying for jobs in the digital sector but because he didn’t have prior experience in the industry, had been unsuccessful,
Fellow graduate, Sarah Le Cornec said the course has outdone her expectations, “It has had an amazing impact for me. Before I started the course I wasn’t sure I wanted a career in this industry but after the course and after meeting all the people, I really want a career in software development.”
Digital enterprises in Jersey can contact the course leader if they are interested in employing an entry-level programmer. The programme structure ensures that learners are taught the right things in the right order
Course leader, Tom Hacquoil said the course is gaining in popularity, showing the rising awareness of the opportunities in the industry, “We had more than sixty people apply for fourteen places on the next course, which starts in July. We are only able to offer 14 places, but with two course dates a year it means we are putting at least twenty good quality entry-level developers into Jersey’s digital industry each year and all with a portfolio of relevant and demonstrable work.”
Digital Jersey is building on the success of the first course, Head of Digital Hub, Gwyn Garfield-Bennett said they are expanding skills training, “There is a clear need to increase our talent pool in the island and obviously training local people is our preferred method where possible. This coding course has proven itself to be extremely successful and we are now looking to launch additional courses in the autumn to complement this existing programme.”