Craft Academy wants to get as many women working in software development as possible. The 12 week intensive programming course preps students of all levels to join the workforce or to launch their own projects.
“I worked as a teacher for 15 years before enrolling in the camp,” says current student Jennifer. “But I wanted to have a new job that would give me more flexibility. I could never have gone back to school for four years because I have a family.”
For women looking to change careers to a rapidly-growing industry with great potential for personal growth, Craft Academy can jump-start a role in tech.
Stockholm native Ebba enrolled in the bootcamp upon arriving home from an extended period of world travelling. Having studied mostly business and entrepreneurship courses at university, she had never thought about IT and coding - until she tried to start her own business.
“I wanted to make my own living, and of course needed a website,” recalls the recent Craft Academy graduate. “I realised hiring someone else to do this costs a lot, so I tried to learn it all myself. But it was too difficult, so I googled around and came across Craft Academy.”
The bootcamp is the only one of its kind in Sweden, enrolling students who are starting from scratch and bringing them to the level of junior developer in three months. Since the bootcamp assumes no prior knowledge, it's perfect for anyone – from recent school graduates to those working for a major career change.
“When I started, I didn't even know what a variable was,” recalls Ebba. “My group's final project was a mobile app that you could swipe like Tinder. It's kind of amazing thinking about how far we came in three months.”
“The 12-week course involves a lot of studying and development,” explains alumna Lucia, who had trained as a molecular biologist before delving into the world of code.
“The same practical knowledge achieved in three months in the bootcamp would be otherwise achieved in probably three years.”
To further encourage women to enrol, Craft Academy offers a partial scholarship to female participants.
“It's important to encourage equality. We support women in every way possible - putting them front and centre encourages more to apply and get involved,” Craft Academy coach Amber tells The Local.
“We recognise that the industry is not as woman friendly; awareness alone is a good first step. We try and address the difficulties in any way we can. We prioritise equality.”
“The coaches at the camp don't differentiate between men and women,” agrees Ebba. “They're there to help everyone.”
Instead of focusing on the differences between men and women, Craft Academy focuses on recruiting those with a passion for programming.
“Programming is not something for men or women; it's something for passionate, curious people,” states Lucia. “The programme is difficult and demanding, and requires energy and focus. Only those who are willing to give it their best shot will survive the steep learning curve.”
Amber does her best to encourage and support female participants.
“Sometime it is harder for women to speak up and take command of their education,” she added. “It's important for the coaches to recognise that and make a space for women in the group.”
Even after the students gain employment they receive continued support from the bootcamp.
“I got help building my CV and preparing for interviews. But even now I am still in touch with most of my cohort and coaches. If I ever need help or advice, they never turn their backs on me,” notes Lucia.
“You don't just pay for the 12 weeks, you get help for as long as you need. They're always there for you.”
In some ways, as Ebba tells The Local, being a female in a large group of males can have its advantages.
“I might not be the best coder, I'm still learning and developing…but because the tech industry is desperate for women, the company I work for was eager to give me a chance.”
Ebba currently interns at a startup, building the second version of a popular mobile application for young women. She works remotely with a programmer from Kenya, among others.
Lucia now works as a front end developer for a consulting company in Gothenburg, focusing largely on customer experience. She credits her success to the skills she learned during her time at the programming bootcamp.
“Craft Academy is rewarding, and the job market is exploding with possibilities,” says Lucia, “I strongly advise following this path. It changed my life!”
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Craft Academy.