How Tech Skills Can Help People

Caitlyn Bayley recently completed the Dev Academy bootcamp, and after graduating, joined the Vodafone Change Accelerator as a Dev Academy volunteer, to help build out the tech projects of some amazing community groups working to make a positive difference in Aotearoa. We take a look at how she got there.

Caitlyn Bayley, web developer and recent Dev Academy graduate

Caitlyn was apprehensive about starting Dev Academy’s in-class web development Bootcamp, noting it was a huge change in mindset from the remote learning she had been doing during Foundations (the preparation module that students complete before the course). She had studied User Experience Design but ended up looking after pets, so 80 hours a week coding on Bootcamp was as a huge change of pace. But she loved it.

“I realised that it was a creative process for me – all of a sudden I had tools to create a digital space in a quick way to see all of my design ideas come to life. I’ve always had these grand schemes and project ideas, and this was suddenly a set of skills and tools that I could use to actually just build something. You could interact with people through that.”

Now a graduate of the course, Caitlyn is dedicated to using her skills to help people.

“I’ve come away from Bootcamp with this passion for building user experiences and I’m very aware of the privilege it is to have those skills. I can build things for people. I’ve volunteered in different spaces that I’m really passionate about with community groups, and obviously my coding skills align quite well in that space.”

This drive to help people and organisations meant that when Enspiral Dev Academy partnered with the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation to help community groups, Caitlyn jumped at the chance.

“I thought it sounded like a great opportunity to be in a Bootcamp style environment and experience the wonderful moments that working in a team brings, as well as contributing to projects with social impact.”

Dev Academy sent 9 graduates down to Ōtautahi Christchurch to work in the Vodafone xone space for the Vodafone Change Accelerator. The Accelerator supported groups with big ideas to help their communities. It brought them all together to develop these ideas into powerful projects, and Dev Academy graduates helped build out the technical side of these projects.

They included Mid North Family Support, Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance who developed a game environment for rangatahi and their community to build stronger connections and experience whānau ora, and Anamata Cafe Youth One Stop Shop, whom Caitlyn helped.

Anamata Cafe Youth One Stop Shop

“The project I was working on is for a Taupō based organisation called Anamata Cafe who focus on the health and wellness of our rangatahi. The web app we built converted the current paper-based health assessment to a digital format.”

“The assessment is carried out in schools with young people around the age of 13. It is used to inform the young person of their own Te Whare Tapa Whā (a health model considering someone’s physical, mental, spiritual and family health) which allows them the chance to know what their strengths are and be able to identify the areas where they think they might need help.”

Digitising this assessment makes it more engaging for rangatahi and more effective for staff to carry out.

Caitlyn has found that the skills she learned at Dev Academy have enormously aided her ability to help people and organisations in need.

“It’s a remarkable feeling to have gained such valuable skills in a short period of time. For example, 6 months ago I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to building anything like the Anamata Cafe app. There is still so much to learn but by becoming familiar with programming, I have gained a great deal of confidence and if people need my help I know exactly what I can offer them.”

Since the Vodafone Change Accelerator, Caitlyn has gone on to find work with the team at Vodafone as a Digital Graduate.

“My Dev Academy experience revealed how important diversity and inclusion is within the tech space and as I started to look for work after bootcamp, I was seeking out companies who recognised this as well. Vodafone seems to be committed to providing a safe and inclusive work environment and hopefully that not only reflects the diverse groups of people I will be working with, but also the innovative technology they use and create.”

“So I’m looking forward to it! Dev Academy has provided me with more confidence in my ability to learn. I’m sure there are going to be many more opportunities at Vodafone to build on what I learnt from bootcamp.”

Ngā mihi nui to the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation for running a powerfully impactful programme that Dev Academy loves to support.

If you’d like to learn the tech skills to radically help people and organisations do great things, join Dev Academy today. Courses are only 15 weeks long, and you’ll graduate with the skills to get employed as a Junior Web Developer. You don’t have to be good at maths and science; just motivated, open to learning, and passionate about getting in to tech. Student loans are now available. Apply now: https://www.devacademy.co.nz/apply-now.

Vodafone Change Accelerator participants