February 20, 2020

We met Alex Roberts at the Barnsley Digital Media Centre (DMC) for the Tech Set Go Web Development course, run by The Developer Academy. The course is funded through the Digital Skills Innovation Fund to test a new approach to developing digital skills in the community. The aim of the course is to give a diverse range of individuals a head start for gaining opportunities in the tech sector.

Alex lives in Rotherham and is currently working at call centre. He had no previous experience of coding before attending the course, but had always been interested in learning some new technical skills. When Alex heard about the course through word of mouth, he thought it would be a great opportunity.

Alex says: “The course was free and open to anyone, which is a great way to develop new skills. Sometimes it can be quite intimidating to sign up to paid courses, and lots of them aren’t always open to everyone, so it was nice to find one that accepts anyone, whatever their experience.”

There can be common misconceptions that you must have a degree to do coding, however, this isn’t the case for this course. Alex says: “The instructors were great as they helped you solve problems and were always there to speak to if you were stuck.”

The course consisted of eight two-hour sessions with additional online learning in between sessions. Alex enjoyed writing code. He says: “At first I thought it was quite easy to pick up the basics. They’ve done a good job at making it accessible.”

At the end of the course, participants on the course were given an employer brief and guidelines to build a website by a digital agency based in the Digital Media Centre. The brief was to design a new website for HorrorConUK; a yearly horror convention in Sheffield. The website had to include a homepage, menu structure and several other pages that had to be on brand. Alex says: “I might have lost motivation to go into web development without doing this course. I have completed some courses online previously, but they weren’t as helpful as this.”

He says: “I find the tech sector appealing as it offers good career opportunities and I’d like to eventually go into web development in the future. I’d recommend the course to anyone wanting to learn how to build their own website. Overall, it’s been great. I’m definitely glad I did it!”


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