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10 November 2023

Award-winning software development bootcamp continues to encourage underrepresented workers to join tech industry


Software development bootcamp Codespace – the product of a collaboration between Edinburgh College and software development company 2i Testing – is continuing to receive considerable acclaim for enabling students from underrepresented backgrounds to build their digital skills and find routes into the tech industry.

Having already won the Partnership Award at this year’s Herald Higher Education (HE) Awards, and being one of the key initiatives behind Computing and Tech Head of School Sam Blyth’s recent win at the Scottish Women in Technology Awards, Codespace is now also a finalist in the Employer Connections category at the 2023 CDN College Awards, which take place later this month.

Consisting of a number of online workshops that cover different software development and data skills, as well as non-tech skills such as communication and interview techniques, Codespace is an affordable and flexible programme that allows people from all backgrounds to learn from home around their individual family and work commitments.

Meanwhile, the ability to engage in a free introductory beginners’ course prior to the bootcamp enables each student to experience a coding course completely free of charge and in their own time, allowing them to gauge if tech is for them before committing to the six-week course.

Over 200 students have undertaken the introductory course so far, and four cohorts of students have gone on to complete the bootcamp, with participants coming from all backgrounds and industries. Some students are also now working in full-time roles in the industry following completion of the programme.

Katherine Leyland, Codespace graduate and now 2i employee said: “I was a teacher and part of my remit was to promote digital learning in my school. We were doing coding and using robots and from there I got interested in coding languages. While on maternity leave, I decided to come to Codespace at College to learn a new skill that would then open up new career paths to a new industry.

“I’ve got two children and for me this course was perfect. It was online, so it meant I had that flexibility. I’ve learned so much in six weeks it’s incredible. I really enjoyed the course. I’m now working at 2i and am loving my new role, so I would say to anyone thinking about doing this course to give it a go. You have nothing to lose.”

Codespace has already had an impact on wider society by enabling people from underrepresented groups to start a career in the tech industry, providing a route into tech for people who may have a background of unemployment, those looking to upskill, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, people who want to change careers, or women looking to gain a route into the male-dominated tech industry.

From those that undertook the introductory course and the Codespace bootcamp, 42% of students were female, which is larger than the 23.5% of women currently working in tech in Scotland according to The ONS Annual Population Survey, while 25% indicated that they had a disability, and at least 19% responded that they were from a BME background.

Head of Engineering at 2iTesting Adam Pettman said: "What has been achieved with Codespace is nothing short of ground-breaking. In this cost-of-living crisis, how many people can take a year away from work to study, let alone four years? How many people can pay thousands for a private bootcamp? It's no wonder that tech companies are struggling to hire talent from underrepresented groups. Codespace offers a genuine route into tech for those who need it the most, and that makes our industry a better place."