We are 2

Nov 7th, 2019

Seeing people realising their dream of a career in tech and having those people tell you that we've "changed their lives"

This week Tech Returners officially celebrates it's 2nd birthday and what a two years it's been! from supporting 29 careers into tech, empowering 42 female leaders and much more. Here we talk to Tech Returners Co Founders Beckie Taylor and James Heggs about the past two years...

Let's start with the best bits!

James

Seeing people realising their dream of a career in tech and having those people tell you that we've "changed their lives"

Beckie

It has to be enabling people to achieve their dreams and believe that anything is possible and providing truly accessible route into technology to increase diversity in tech and on a personal front, being able to be there for my family as well as growing our business, true flexibility.

Favourite or proudest moments?

James

Every presentation evening. At the start of the 15 weeks when we tell people they'll be creating their own software and presenting it back to a packed out room we get looks of shock and disbelief. Then at presentation evening when they stand in front of people and share their creations you can see the happiness (and proudness) in their own faces. Easily my favourite moment.

Beckie

There's so many! Having my daughter Emmie and being able to bring her in work, podcasts, meetings, conferences and not having to choose between her and the business. Being recognized for what we have achieved is also amazing particularly being Women in IT award finalists, receiving constant positive feedback of what we are doing from our returners community and the businesses that work with us and developing 42 female tech leaders and growing the Tech Returners community to over 100 people!

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Biggest learnings

James

Understanding when to push and when to support. Delivering the course there are moments when people need support and not just from a skills front, there are also moments when individuals need to be pushed outside of their comfort zone. Spotting those hooks is a skill I've started to develop and as a team we are still working on developing this - there's always more to learn!

Beckie

For me it's that when you have a vision which you are so passionate about just go for it as the passion is what really diffentiates you Never Never Never give up – things do get tough but having the fantastic support of a community and amazing team is what matters.

Tell us about some challenges and how you've overcome them

James

My technical background has a large DevOps component. (Something I'm really passionate about). When in DevOps consultancy roles, I am mostly brought in to held organisations speed up (safely) through introduction of continuous deployment or scaling infrastructure. This means my whole ethos is on speed, releasing software 50 times a day instead of 4 times a year. Running a 15 week course in which we truly find out how the course, tech coaches and our business has performed after 15 weeks was totally alien to me as a feedback cycle.

As a result, I've learnt to decrease the feedback loops so week by week, we will take a look through a cohort support where necessary and then iterate. Also we've made every part of the course modular so that it can be shifted and edited much more easily depending on a cohort progression. Some might even say its more agile!

Beckie

Not getting distracted to the noise and doing this by staying true to what you truly believe and what success looks like to you. Scaling when ready, having a thorough plan and taking it step by step and of course that elusive work/life balance making sure I have those moments with the family as sometimes I'm so passionate it's hard to stop!

And finally, next big goals for Tech Returners?

James

Our next big goal is operating at scale and supporting more returners whilst keeping quality at a high. Its a reason why I am firm in the belief that we'll only ever utilise tech coaches that have had a career in technology and are very comfortable supporting/teaching others. Of course to employ talented, technical engineers comes with its own cost but I think its key to our delivery and giving people the best restart (or start) in the technical career.

Beckie

We are on the journey to scale Tech Returners (and with the recent award of the GMCA Digital Fast Track grant this is a massive reality in 2020), it is a really exciting time and every conversation we are having now is so positive and we have so much support. We are looking to grow our continuous development model and grow into new location but not compromising on our values of true accessibility and having the right experts to deliver the programmes

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