From Foster Care to Programmer: Guest Blog from Ola, inaugural graduate of the Możesz ITy programme by Coders Lab

Coders Lab is mobilizing a new generation of professionals to support the innovation economy in Poland. Now it is activating youth leaving orphanages and their allies to achieve diversity in the tech industry.

Coders Lab was the first to offer bootcamp-based learning in Poland and is now the leader of the market with the highest number of courses and graduates. The enterprise realized that it was well- positioned to solve two challenges — the shortage of qualified developers in the industry and the high rate of unemployment among youth leaving foster care and orphanages. So it launched the Możesz ITy to address these challenges head on.

Ola, an inaugural graduate of the Możesz ITy programme, blogs about her experience.

I received information about the courses organized by MozeszITy foundation from my coordinator at my foster care. I realized I had nothing to lose. I sent the application, but I did not count on being accepted into the course. I had never come across this topic before so I had no knowledge of programming.

What I received was a chance to learn something completely new.

During the programming course we met every day from Monday to Friday to work strictly on programming topics. There were lectures, exercises, independent work, and also work at home. I devoted a lot of time to this course. The course ended with a test of skills and knowledge.

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The course has been very important to me. In addition to the programming itself, we have dedicated time to self-development. In two modules, we discussed assertiveness, self-acceptance, organization of our time, how to make decisions, what to look for in ourselves, how to be more confident, and how to reduce the stress.
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The biggest challenge for me has been to believe in myself and accept myself. During the primary school and the beginning of high school, I was full of complexes. I struggled to believe in myself, while at the same time desiring attention.

Although the beginning was very stressful for me because everything was new to me, I remember the course very well. I was afraid that I would not learn all of the material. To deal with the challenges of the course, I started to think about myself positively. I started to tell myself that I can achieve anything. My friends and boyfriend also supported me.

My friends say I am a responsible and reliable person. I see myself as perfectionist. I care for every detail. I love new tasks and I always treat them as challenges.

I remember the situation when I was working on the final project. I was not sure about a few things. Late in the evening, I wrote a message to my mentor asking for help and was very grateful for that and at the same time proud of myself. The mentorship program was very helpful because I had a chance to have a dedicated professional with whom I can consult different topics.

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I am an example of the fact that nothing is impossible, that with a little help we can achieve a lot. Thanks to the course, I gained a belief in myself that I will succeed.

After the course I had a short break. I wanted to think about everything. I needed a moment to overcome all of the stress. I'm very grateful to Karolina from MozeszITy who assisted me and helped to increase my belief to succeed. 

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After the course, Karolina asked me to send her my CV. I received an internship offer in a large company in the technology strategy department. I realized during my internship that I like independent work and that I feel a lot of responsibility for the tasks entrusted to me.
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Currently, I’m a programming intern and work on my own app. It’s my baby. It’s a great challenge and adventure to work on my own app during an internship. I’m very proud of it because I created it from scratch. In addition, it was a competition which I won and my application will be introduced into the U.S. market. 
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I think that work gives an amazing experience, studies are important, but I need a short rest at this stage. Taking care of myself is the most important thing.

After sitting for a whole week in front of computer and programming, I want to relax and take a break from the computer. I go outside of the city or spend time in the city parks or at the Vistula river. That's how I “recharge my batteries.” Between my classes, learning and work, I love catching up with my friends. I like to be among them because I trust them. I can spill my guts and I know that my friends support me. I also like reading books very much.

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Now I am focused on writing a thesis to complete by Bachelor of Arts degree. My goal for the upcoming months is to complete my studies. After the internship, I would like to continue working with this company.
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If anyone believes in themselves, then nothing is impossible.