This article was written by Saujanya Timalsena, a 2021 Pathways participant from Nepal who aspires to become a writer besides his interest in IT and AI. Here, he shared his thoughts and experience.
Coming from a non-tech background, I had been trying to get into tech for a year or so, before I hopped onto an ad about Pathways program on Instagram. I had tried everything to begin with tech, from #100_Days_Of_Code challenge on Twitter to some courses on freeCodeCamp. [By the way, both of them are recommendable to someone who is beginning to learn to code and starting with tech in general.]
However, even with all the effort, I’d just get derailed after a few weeks.
They are helpful to people and we can all find success stories about people who learnt to code and got a job by only using these resources; however, it was not my cup of tea. I needed some structure and a big chunk of accountability.
About the program
The program is an initiative by Work For Impact, a B Corp certified freelance platform with a big emphasis on people, planet and sustainability.
The main purpose of the Pathways programme is to train and build human capital and skills in developing economies. This time around, we have had students from Nepal, Hong Kong, and Kenya – and people from more countries will be part of the program in the coming months. All of us were enrolled in the Google IT Support Course, which is the main part of the program. Apart from that, we also got personal mentorship, personal development sessions, and sessions regarding many things related to jobs and tech.
It’d be an understatement to say that my experience has been good. It has been an extraordinary and exceptional discovery, facilitated by algorithms – and yes, it played to my desire to get into AI in the first place.
When looking back, I feel really grateful for the life-changing serendipity of it. You have to put in all the effort but the team is made up of people who genuinely want you to succeed and they are willing to do everything to make it happen.
They give you a sense of being part of a family – a family made up of an exceptional group of people. Moreover, my colleagues are also a motivated group of youths who, like me, share a common zeal for life and learning. Getting to connect and know them is something I shall treasure. Coming from a non-tech background, I got to learn the basics of computing and IT from the ground level in this program – and, to add to that, I also got an opportunity to enrol on a full-stack data scientist course recently.
Pathways – more than just a course
Apart from the technical stuff and the amazing team connection, it also provided us with mentorship programs. We were given two valuable sessions about personal branding, profiling in Social media, and how to approach work opportunities by a renowned Brand Strategist, Luca. It taught me the importance of creating an online presence that reflects not only your skills but your personality.
Needless to say, gone are the days when employers look for candidates through newspaper articles. Nowadays employers come looking for employees via Social Media Platforms, LinkedIn especially, and the best way to stand out is by having a great online presence and portfolio. Even though I did not feel particularly good about the realisation that creating an online presence is important due to my own imposter syndrome, Luca convinced me nevertheless and I am grateful to her for that and the sessions.
Furthermore, all the participants were also fortunate enough to get a personal mentor in a field they’re interested in. Geoff, the founder of Work for Impact, and our past program coordinator reached out to all his networks personally to find each one of us a mentor, a testimony to his passion for helping people; he really acted like a Dad-figure to all the young participants during his time in the program. Hence, I got to meet mentors who helped me and who are still in touch. I got to know more about the AI industry and got wonderful suggestions from industry leaders and practitioners, which ignited my passion for the field and future.
All in all, I have learnt the basics of IT and am now venturing into a niche field of Data Science due to the exposure I got in the program. I am very excited about how I was just beginning with tech when I started the program and how I have now committed myself to something that fascinates me at the end of the program in the tech field.
So, it has been a very insightful program for me, technically and personally. It helped me in all facets of life, from personal development to gaining IT skills to networking and most importantly getting an identity upon which I can build myself in the future.
It is the first cohort and I am sure that the program will reach more people as time goes by.
I also believe many of these amazing people will join the team. The program stands for youth empowerment and has set up a team and goal accordingly. Carolina, the present program coordinator also has the same energy. She loves seeing people thrive and loves bringing the best out of people. This is the energy that will remain forever in the program, which is bound to grow as it gets bigger.
Personally, I am really looking forward to helping people from around the world through this program because this program has instilled in me a deep sense of a need to give back to the community, which I can proudly say I was lucky to get. Before that, I will keep on learning.
At Work for Impact, we are serious about our idea of changing the world, one project at a time.
With our in-house program Pathways, we strive to help communities around the world take on sustainable employment challenges by leveraging the power of technology and impact-driven people.
For every ten new contracts, we onboard one Pathways student. We contribute to supporting partner charities with 6% of our revenue contributing directly to making this world a better place.
Through Pathways program, more than 15 students from Nepal, Brazil, Yemen and Kenya have received Google IT support training, mentorship, and job readiness to start a career based on their freshly learned skills. They are our greatest achievement, our main pride. Learn more about how to participate, either if you are a freelancer or an organisation. Find more stories about Pathways here.