MigraCode Success Stories: the journey of Shaminderjeet

MigraCode is Open Cultural Center’s most important project. Launched in 2019, it’s the first code academy for migrants and refugees in Barcelona, with open access, powered by volunteers, and in collaboration with the tech and nonprofit sectors. Our goal is ambitious: to link our students to the tech sector in Barcelona, which is expanding and in demand of digital-skilled people. Moreover, the CodeWomen initiative within the MigraCode project encourages female students during their Migracode bootcamp, to work towards their successful graduation as Junior Web Developer.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both MigraCode and CodeWomen are increasingly growing and little by little turning into something important. Proof of that is the successes of our students, some of whom have found opportunities within the tech sector after graduating or have developed admirable digital skills despite starting from scratch. In this blog post, we want to share with you one of these inspiring stories: Shaminderjeet.

Some students from the basic digital course provided by MigraCode thanks to INCO scholarships. / Photo: Open Cultural Center

Shaminderjeet is 31 and she was born in Punjab, India. She moved to Barcelona in 2018. Although she completed a Master’s in Information Technology in 2012, she moved into the teaching profession. “No one taught me how to pursue your dreams… how to pursue a job after my education in Information Technology”. That is why she switched careers. In such a big sector as the tech sector is, it turns easy to get lost and confused if no one guides you. “Also, where I lived in India I hadn’t so many opportunities”, she adds.

For this reason, everything she had learned in the field of technology simply vanished. “Once I arrived in Barcelona, I tried to regain my knowledge by reading books, but it was like starting from zero”, Shaminderjeet explains. Moreover, she came across many other difficulties, like the language barrier and the modernisation of technology since 2012. Her situation was a loop: “At that moment, I couldn’t afford any course on computers and/or coding… However, when you apply for a job, you are asked about your studies, your experience, etc. So, the situation was really challenging for me”. COVID-19 “shadowed” any dream she and her husband had regarding jobs and stability, but she came across someone who introduced her MigraCode and the INCO scholarships. She immediately applied for this opportunity.

As Shaminderjeet had previous studies in the tech sector, she didn’t find the course especially difficult. Nevertheless, this didn’t prevent her from finding certain obstacles she had to overcome. For instance, she remembers how challenging certain modules were. “I got stuck on some practical exercises despite having a background, and I had to repeat some of them many times. I felt very frustrated because of that!”.

Moreover, Shaminderjeet had to face another important challenge: having a one-year-old baby! “He is very little and he is now very curious about everything… For instance, when I open my laptop to study, he wants the laptop!”, she laughs. “Imagine how difficult is studying in this situation”. Being a woman in such a male-dominated sector, with no referents, raising a baby while studying, and living in a foreign country are enough reasons to consider Shaminderjeet a truly champion. She graduated from the IT Support & Security course thanks to INCO scholarships and wants to continue studying in order to broaden her knowledge and find the job of her dreams. For this reason, she already enrolled in the Web Development course. 

Finally, when being asked about her personal journey, Shaminderjeet doesn’t hesitate at all when saying that this experience has changed her life for better: “now I know where to go, what to do next to finally get my life stable”, she says. Her mind is also clearer now: “I definitely see myself as a web developer. I want to work in something related to my original studies”.