First Women-Only Coding School In Malaysia

It’s an oft-cited claim, just how hostile coding is to women. Women made up just 21% of Malaysia’s cybersecurity workforce in 2017 (though that was still an impressive number compared to the 11% in the United States at the time).

But Vani Mahadevan – founder of Malaysia’s first women’s coding school, TechSprint Academy – said the problem was not with the lack of opportunities for women to learn to code.

She told Vulcan Post: “I think that more than coding is a hostile place for women, women need to realize that they are much more capable than they credit it.

TechSprint was launched in Malaysia in collaboration with CodeOp, an international coding school for women based in Spain, to provide women with a safe space to learn tech-related skills and connect with other women in the industry. technology.

They’ve created a range of programs through CodeOp’s coding boot camps as well as shorter courses to address and help solve these 5 issues in today’s tech industry.

1. The pink recession

The pandemic has caused a “pink recession”. It takes its name from the heavy impact it has had on the education, travel, retail and hospitality sectors of the economy, where the majority of its employees are women.

While this creates difficult times, it can also be a good wake-up call for women to look at each other and see how they can best adjust to the opportunities of the new normal.

TechSprint’s rebound was designed to meet this new need in our country by offering a series of programs to help women access tech-related careers or start their own businesses focused on greater tech adoption. .

Rebound’s programs are 100% virtual / Image credit: TechSprint

It aims to help unemployed and underemployed Malaysian women discover new career and economic opportunities.

From October to December of this year, they have already welcomed around 460 participants for their online programs where the courses offered have given them skills that are easily applicable in the workplace.

2. A problem of trust

If you are a minority in an environment, you will feel like everything around you is hostile. Only with knowledge and by demonstrating that knowledge, will you have the courage to navigate these difficult waters and have the confidence to knock on the necessary doors.

Vani Mahadevan, founder of TechSprint Academy

That’s what Vani had to say when Vulcan Post asked why women tend to feel unwelcome in tech-related industries.

When she started marketing CodeOp, she realized the lack of confidence and intimidation women felt to dive straight into coding, despite being perfectly capable of this.

To combat this, TechSprint began offering programs that moved further away from coding, through courses like social media marketing and graphic design.

The demand for these skills has been accelerated by the pandemic, making them essential skills for navigating this new post-pandemic world, when it comes to employability.

Through these courses, TechSprint wants to highlight other opportunities that exist in the tech industry that will hopefully spark women’s curiosity and a desire to learn more as they gain confidence.

3. Secure employment opportunities

TechSprint Zero to Tech Hero Event / Image Credit: TechSprint

In light of the previous point, these skills are by no means easy to acquire. Vani shared that CodeOp boot camps are tough because they are meant to prepare graduates to be industry relevant with a portfolio of projects to present to potential employers.

TechSprint also works with agencies to offer internships and internships to their graduates. Since CodeOp started in 2019, they have already produced 4 graduates and 6 more on the way, aged 25 to 40.

These graduates are mothers looking for a career change, a couple of engineers who have interrupted their careers, and new graduates looking for more employable skills.

4. Balance classes and children

The pandemic and lockdowns also pushed more women to attend the WFH while managing their children’s online lessons, making it difficult for some mothers to focus.

As TechSprint’s programs are now fully online, these moms must balance attending home classes with kids demanding their attention.

Understanding this challenge, the academy provides a child-friendly environment by giving mothers time to care for their children and allowing them to bring their children to the screen.

“Some mothers told us how much they appreciated it and also encouraged their children to learn with them as well,” Vani said.

By offering this flexibility to mothers, they hope to give them confidence to encourage their own daughters to seize these opportunities.

5. Expensive programs

Women may also face financial problems by enrolling in some of the programs, as these boot camps do not come cheap.

CodeOp training camps range from RM5,200 for product management to RM12,500 for 15-week Full Stack and Data Analytics training camps.

Shorter programs can cost anywhere from RM500 to around RM2,000 depending on the length and program.

Therefore, programs like Rebound were created to help make this accessible and affordable for women who have interrupted their careers, been laid off, or have never found a job to date.

Priority was given to people from marginalized communities, single mothers from low-income socio-economic backgrounds and non-professionals (non-doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.).

By securing support from The Asia Foundation, Vani hopes more organizations will come forward to support programs like Rebound to provide exposure and opportunities for more women to explore careers in tech.

  • You can read more about TechSprint here.
  • You can read more about the Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.

Featured Image Credit: Vani Mahadevan, Founder of TechSprint Academy, and Rebound Mentors

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Jothi Venkat

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