Please tell us about yourself and your connection with CodeOp.
I have a bachelor in Business Administration and an MBA. I have been living in Barcelona since 2009 when I started working in the higher education industry in various roles, mainly focusing on strategic project management and action learning initiatives for a business school.
I was aware of the proliferation of tech bootcamps in Barcelona, so when I was considering the training for myself I reached out to someone involved in the industry who ended up pointing me to CodeOp. Considering the career leap, I was looking to have a conversation about how competitive the training was, the syllabus, and the skills I needed for this change. I was about to make a big decision and wanted as much information as possible from his knowledge of the different players. However, something very important from that conversation stuck with me: the environment in which you learn is important.
Curriculum aside, what I liked about CodeOp is they had dealt with many career changers and their mission to bring diversity to tech. After just a couple of conversations with them it automatically felt like a “safe space” to try this completely new thing for me.
How would you describe the education you get at CodeOp?
The support along the process is outstanding both from instructors and teaching assistants, staff and your career coach. It is like having a safety net around the learning experience and it is key to building confidence little by little while trying and failing (a lot!). All these things make the journey personalized.
I also liked that the training touched upon many other skills adjacent of tech that were extremely relevant for the learning process itself and for life post-bootcamp: from how to talk about your projects, how to combat imposter syndrome, overall problem solving skills, your self-awareness, and more. Also, the talks and Q&As with alumni were in the same position just a few months ago were priceless.
How have you found balancing your studies and being a mother?
My experience is very personal: my partner was extremely supportive and we talked about this change a lot and about the time I had to invest in this course full-time. It was almost a family plan. It also happened during a period where he could plan well around my schedule which made everything easier.
The workload in the Full Stack Web Development bootcamp is well distributed. Of course there are periods more intense than others but overall it was manageable. You have to get practical and adept at executing tasks and that’s a skill you train quite well when you become a mother. Now looking back, time flew by. What seemed challenging and impossible ended up being doable, with ups and downs, as with everything in life.
A very personal feeling that encouraged me along the way, that perhaps other mothers can relate to: I was doing this training to nurture myself. After becoming a mother life gets richer in many ways but you also get a bit diluted into motherhood and work, as life gets a bit more complicated. Finding something for myself, and going through education in particular, felt very empowering and very rewarding.
What kind of advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a CodeOp student?
Creating bonds with the community, with your classmates and with alumni helps you navigate through the whole journey better (even emotionally). Take part in the extracurricular events whenever you can. I know this can be challenging for mothers but it makes a difference.
I would guess if someone is reading this, they have already done some research, played with the idea for a while. Go for it! The only thing I regret is not joining earlier.
Can you think of any stories about the school which reflect what it aims to achieve?
I can’t seem to point out only one thing in particular, everything felt very aligned with CodeOp’s mission to make tech more diverse. The encouragement from the instructors, all the alumni stories and the tips they shared on how to navigate the job post bootcamp, the speakers during Career Week, and more.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Put on your learning hat and remind yourself to keep a fun attitude at all times. If you don’t have fun while doing the bootcamp, it will become a heavy load and every small obstacle will trigger fear instead of the will to figure things out and overcome the challenge.
The more you know, the less you know. You have to learn to be comfortable with feeling a bit behind. I have to remind myself this one constantly, but I guess this is also a feeling mothers can relate to very well.
CodeOp was founded in 2018 to promote equality in the tech industry. They are the first international tech school for women, transgender, and non-binary individuals (women+) who want to transition to, or upskill in tech, offering training, safe space, and resources required to help women+ flourish in technology. The Full Stack Web Development bootcamp Maria graduated from is available online, and at the Barcelona and London campuses, and can be completed full-time (11 weeks) or part-time (six months). The part-time course is taught two evenings a week but there will soon be a new timetable especially aimed at parents and those who work in the afternoons. This will run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Check out this course and all others on CodeOp's website.
Article written in association with CodeOp.