Learning tech makes a difference

27 June, 2023

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Dev Academy Aotearoa is a training institution that offers a 17-week hands-on coding course. A couple of our staff have benefitted from the course, which has allowed them to move onto a new career path.

Michael Parkin is a front end developer, based in our Wellington office. He went to Dev Academy in 2021.

“It was the core of my journey and the best thing I’ve done for my career. The whole experience was very nice, very pleasant, very warm.

“I was working in hospitality but wanted to move into a tech career. I found Dev Academy through Google but it looked too good to be true! How could you learn to code in 3 months and then have an 86% chance of getting a job? The reviews checked out but I did a couple of free courses elsewhere first. By then the course was NZQA accredited so I enrolled and started 2 weeks later.

“It’s 5 days a week and you don’t miss a day – not even public holidays – because the learning is so compressed. The 3 months flew by and each week I learned about a whole new realm of how the internet works. We did a lot in pairs and groups and they also managed to integrate content on human skills.

“Most of our work at Dragonfly is data visualisation – displaying charts, maps and graphs. The course definitely prepared me for this job.”

Rohan Wakefield is the CEO and non-technical founder of Dev Academy. He says a lot of people get into tech because they want to create meaning and purpose, and make a difference in the world.

“I think tech has a beautiful aspect in that it builds products for any walk of life. It gives us the ability to see how to make changes around our environment and to understand the implications of what we’re doing. There’s an opportunity for real impact and people are interested for that reason.

“When something hugely disruptive like Chat GPT comes along, we’re reminded that nothing is immune from change. I think it shows that we all need to be involved in tech so we’re not bystanders and can retain control.

“Mike is typical of the ‘career movers’ who take the course. They’re often aged 25–35 and are bored or unhappy with their industry or have lost a job or hit a glass ceiling. They bring different and wonderful perspectives to the class and to the tech sector.

“So many people write tech off as being too hard. But we’ve never had anyone who couldn’t learn it if they really wanted to. Most grads get into software development and work in all sorts of fields – web development, block chain, data science animation, gaming or start their own business. I get a lot of excitement from seeing where people go – it’s my favourite thing!”

Top image: From left Michael Parkin, Rohan Wakefield and Edward Abraham, founder and director of Dragonfly. Sarah Wilcox