Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin, USA is where I was headed on May 24th, 2016. It’s a beautiful city in summer and gets crazy cold in winters. It is also famous for University of Madison, WI. When I was starting to Madison, I had a mixed feeling. Happy because I am going to be with my spouse. Unhappy had to quit my Job, leave my hometown and start a whole new like in a new city. I Shobha, a software engineer born and brought up in Bangalore (IT hub of India) and been working for continuous 11 years without long breaks had to make a big move in my life.
I knew I would face a couple of challenges when I landed in Madison but never thought it would start right when I step in. After having worked for 10 continuous years tirelessly I wanted to take a small break. But me being me and being addicted to work for years I could not bear the break for more than a week. So, I applied for my work permit and in parallel started looking out for jobs to volunteer. But not many companies or labs in university worked on the technology or language that I had worked on so I was ready to explore new opportunities and learn new. But not a great success. I decided to meet people. I registered into tech meetups where I met a couple of people and started to know more about different companies, work being done. After 3 weeks, I happen to get into an opportunity at Neuro Science Department where I worked there for around 8 months but was missing my IT field. So, I decided to move back but hit a hurdle here; my work permit had expired. I had to reapply and wait until I get my permit.
While I was waiting for my permit, I could not work hence I had to sit at home. I was looking for an opportunity to kill my time as I had no friends and family to be with. So, I started to look out for opportunities that could allow me to volunteer. And while I was looking for the opportunity, I saw a tech meetup newsletter having updates, volunteering opportunity and job opening. There I saw a reference to YWEB Career Academy(YWCA) which had an advertisement for volunteering.
Further browsing the YWCA website is where I realized they have a program to introduce women and people of colors to tech industry by teaching FE web development. And now all of sudden I turned myself from volunteering to applying as a student for the program. I was not sure if I would be given an opportunity but I decided to give a shot and take up Front-End web development class. And there I was a week later enrolled to this class.
I started my classes a week late, but better late than never. YWCA focused on introducing women and people of color to software. They are an organization who are trying to bring change and help for a cause. This program teaches a lot of things to newcomers. Provides both soft and tech skills. Prepares people for a better future. Our day to day activity was very like what happens in a tech industry; stand-ups, review meeting, attendance, time management, group collaboration, team building. Although I had experience in all of them I learnt them again. Apart from that, I did learn design techniques, elevator pitch (Word that I hear first time), WordPress, companies in Madison, building connection, friends and off-course FE languages. It’s almost to the end of the program I had fun throughout the class. It was amazing to meet people with various background, people who never worked in software industry before, ideas they brought in, eagerness to learn software languages and willingness to get in tech companies. Saw them grow from knowing nothing to building projects on their own.
Of course, the credit goes to the wonderful instructors who are so dedicated, knowledgeable and strong leaders.
My personal take away from this class is wonderful friends and instructors and the knowledge that I have gained being part of YWCA. Hoping someday I could do something similar for the upbringing of the women and people of color.