Natalia Fedorova, Regional Coordinator

30 July 2020

“Difficult but not impossible”: PinkWebDev Graduates Share Their Experiences

This June saw the graduation of our first Front-End Development students, who enrolled with us as part of PinkWebDev. The program was a joint effort between Beetroot Academy and Pink Programming to pave the way for more women and non-binary people in IT. Here’s what Beetroot Academy Sweden’s first graduates say about the course.

Our Graduates

We’ve had 20 people graduate from PinkWebDev and caught up with 4 of them for this article.

Cecilia, Sales

Michelle, Analyst & Quality Specialist

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Nora, IT Coordinator

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Sandra, Designer & Substitute Teacher

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Graduates Experience

Previous coding experience is not a must but it certainly helps. Group courses provide both knowledge and structure around it, so studying is naturally easier if you had some prior knowledge. 

"Before the course started, I had done some mini-courses in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Those courses covered very basic things but I’m still happy to have taken them. When PinkWebDev started, I could already recognize some terminology, which made learning less intimidating.

I wanted to do the Pink course to learn the basics of what is needed to start working as a Front-End Developer. Indeed, I didn’t have to figure that out myself. Now I know both the basics and what I need to study further, which is a very good place to be"

Michelle Andersson

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Outtakes from Michelle's portfolio 

No current career proved to be a blocker. Even if your line of work does not have to do much with computers, transitioning to Front-End Development is very much an option. If your current occupation, however, deals with IT or can be applied to IT, the experience is more rewarding.

"I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts with Graphic Design as a major. Still, I didn’t know who I wanted to be. I took a 3D-modeling course and loved the technical part, so my boyfriend introduced me to web development. I immediately realized that this is what I wanted to do.

The more I studied Front-End Development myself, the more I liked it. I was amazed by all the cool things you can do with simple code. Even better: I could also implement my graphic design skills to make nice looking websites. It was very fun at first but learning started to feel lonely, so I’m lucky PinkWebDev happened around the same time. I am super happy to say that I have finally found my calling—one where I can use my graphic design skills as well!"

Sandra Olsson

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Outtakes from Sandra's portfolio 

Juggling work or classes can be tricky but still doable. While Michelle quit her job to focus on studies and neither Sandra nor Cecilia had much work at the time, Nora continued working full-time. As a student without prior coding experience, Nora found the workload to exceed 20 hours/week. Based on feedback from other graduates, we’re currently reviewing the curriculum to make it more work- and study-friendly.

Graduates find the learning curve reasonable, although some would allocate hours a bit differently. The consensus among those is that the JavaScript module needs more class time, as it has proven more difficult than the HTML and CSS modules. We’ll be analyzing the feedback to improve the share of modules in the curriculum and/or distribution of class time and self-studying hours for each. 

"The curriculum definitely went from simple to complex. The structure of HTML and CSS modules was very good: the workload felt manageable throughout both modules. Some topics in JavaScript, however, felt too complicated. I wish we had had another class or two on some of the more complex JavaScript topics"

Michelle Andersson

“The studying flow was good, sometimes very stressful but not too much. It never felt like there wasn’t enough to do. Maryna, the JavaScript teacher, also gave extra exercises for those that wanted more practice. It was great to have this flexibility.”

Cecilia Vakaloudi

Collaborative learning certainly helps when it comes to diving into new things, and IT is no exception. It’s not just about working in class together: forming small groups and finding study partners keeps everyone going. Unfortunately, the pandemic limited our opportunities to facilitate meetups but our students did a pretty good job themselves whenever possible.

"Having fellow students makes a big difference. Before we had to switch to the remote mode, I saw big enthusiasm and great team spirit. Unfortunately, the lockdown happened so sudden we didn’t really form study groups in person.

Some of us, however, found a study partner and met with other groups of two at each other’s houses. It was superb to see our classmates even if it took a lot of planning to work around families, kids, and small apartments. Still, it was unfortunate that some people did not find a study partner because they were shy about it and didn’t get the time to get comfortable before the lockdown"

Nora Kristensson

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Outtakes from Nora's portfolio

Advice to future students, in short, would be study hard and do some prep beforehand if you can. I think Michelle nailed it.

“I would say that this course is difficult, but not impossible. If you stay on top of the workload and remain curious, you will do great. There is a lot to learn in a very short period of time and that indeed can feel overwhelming. Just keep reminding yourself just how far you have come already and that no one expects you to know everything at the end of the four-month course.

Most importantly, dedicate time slots for studying and stay positive. Even when it gets difficult, keep going because the next topic might prove easier to follow. Besides, the difficult things will eventually become easier.

It is also important to remember that this course does take time! It is not enough to just go to class. You really have to work outside the classroom and invest your time and energy into further learning of what’s covered in the course. Good luck, everyone!”

Michelle Andersson

Our first open Front-End Development group starts on August 17 and still has a few spots left. You can also sign up for Python, UI/UX Design, or Project Management here