Sadia Akmal

Introduction to Coding, April 2018

Sadia, 36, originally studied a BSc Honours Degree in IT and Software Engineering at University of Punjaab, Pakistan. For the past 12 years she has been a stay at home mum, looking after her young daughters. Tech Returners gave Sadia the opportunity to return to learning and do something for herself.

A friend of mine who is also a stay at home mum originally heard about a different tech training programme on Facebook for people who might be looking at a new career. But when I looked into it, I found this didn’t offer me the flexibility I needed around my daughters, who are aged 11 and 7.

Then I heard about Tech Returners, where I could learn again about HTML, CSS and Javascript so it sounded interesting to me – and even better, it was completely flexible and fit around my family, so I thought I would give it a try as I really wanted to go back to a career. Being 12 years away from my degree, I have found it difficult to get another job as tech has changed so much and I was always asked about work experience, which wasn’t something I’d been able to get as I was raising the girls.

I presumed that my career was basically history and that I would be unable to return to learning, but thanks to Tech Returners this hasn’t been the case. I called for information and the team was hugely supportive and helpful. It felt a bit like they knew what I was up against and could see into my life! And it felt really good to do something for myself again as I was used to being at home with my children full-time.

On the first day I met all the rest of the Tech Returners. We all had different backgrounds and we were all equal, learning knowledge and being provided with resources. The environment was great, it was very much no pressure and no judgement – it felt refreshing. Every night I was able to put the girls to bed and then start learning with the resources, which felt really exciting.

Tech Returners has helped me to build my confidence back up. I’ve been out of work and study for a long time and I haven’t had the chance to get any new work experience to get back to a career. I’ve been able to build a network of others who are doing the same as me.

With Tech Returners, I am hoping to polish my skills and then use it to work out what I want to do next, which is hopefully to find a job. Beckie has been hugely encouraging and brings in inspirational people from different backgrounds and careers to speak to us. My experience has been very positive and is very much about putting the right steps in place to take myself forwards and make my own choices from there. It is very encouraging as for 12 years I have thought that I could never go back to IT as I’d struggle to balance the demands of raising children and working full time. Now I feel like I will be able to.