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Meet Our Students: February Diversity in Tech Scholarship Winners

26 April 2022Written by Emma Woodward
Meet Gisele Lima, Hardeep Singh, Megan Van Der Weide, and Lily Noël - four incredible women and career changers who share a love of coding and a determination to succeed in the tech industry. They are the recipients of Coder Academy's Diversity in Tech Scholarship, aimed at bridging inequalities in the tech field by introducing talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to a new and exciting career. Join us as we delve into their inspiring stories and discover how they are breaking barriers, pursuing their dreams, and making a positive impact in the world of technology.

It’s always exciting when a new cohort of students starts their journey in a Coder Academy bootcamp. The first intake of students for 2022 are well underway in the Web Development Bootcamp, and we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of them.

Gisele Lima, Hardeep Singh, Megan Van Der Weide and Lily Nöel are four incredible women and career changers who share a love of coding and a determination to succeed in the tech industry. Something else they have in common? They’re all recipients of Coder Academy’s Diversity in Tech Scholarship.

For each bootcamp intake, we offer Diversity in Tech Scholarships for students who are learning to code at our campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane and online through our virtual classroom. It’s our way of helping to combat the long-standing inequalities in the tech industry, introducing talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to an exciting new career.

Gisele Lima

Gisele Lima is a production engineer specialising in manufacturing management and continuous improvement systems. Born in Brazil, Gisele spent two years in the USA before moving to Australia six years ago.

Now, Gisele volunteers as a tutor with Melbourne AMEP – helping new arrivals to settle in Australia.

“I worked in the manufacturing industry for the last 13 years, and I have always been the only female representation in the production leadership at the companies I worked for.

“I know how hard it is to break into a field where you don’t see anyone who looks like you achieving successful career paths. Where people challenge you from day one, just to see if you can handle and for how long.

“Coming to Australia brought another layer into that challenge as, besides the gender gap, I could not see many immigrants sitting on roles I was aiming for.

“The resilience and perspectives that come along with being part of minority groups, make us particularly especial and value-adding to the STEM businesses. Therefore, I am embracing the current diversity gap in tech as my new chapter to be explored and overcome. Receiving this scholarship [was] the booster I needed to kick off my journey in tech, with the vision of being a vehicle of change, not just for myself, but for others like me also.”

“As soon as I assumed positions of leadership as a production engineer, I decided to give the support I did not have to young women in manufacturing, so they could pursue their career aspirations, regardless of the limitations imposed to them by the society.

“I am super proud of having the opportunity to do the same here in Australia, now working with recent migrants trying to ingress in the job market in the same field they used to work back home.

“I cannot wait to have more knowledge and experience in tech so I can start sharing my career journey with even more people like me. I would be extremely happy to encourage them to believe that if I made it, they can make it too.”

Hardeep Singh

Hardeep Singh graduated from university in 2007, completing a Biomedical Sciences Degree at the height of the GFC.

“I fell into a career in sales and didn’t look back until 2014. I had three kids and I found a new part of me; loving, nurturing and fierce. But I lost my individuality, independence and identity.”

“It’s been a challenge to keep up with my hobbies. I used to play the sitar, footy and go kick boxing”.

“Locked down, I stumbled across a free coding bootcamp on YouTube and learnt basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I felt my brain exploding as the lessons stimulated my mind and gave me a love for learning again, a new hobby to enjoy and grow into a tech career, just for me.

“I found an aspiration to become a coder. A means [to get] back into work after being a stay-at-home Mum for so long and a large part of my goal to regain my individuality, independence and identity again.”

“I can’t say I should receive this scholarship above anyone else, it’s been a rough two years for many and I know people have struggled in ways we didn’t even know was possible. For myself, it would make my journey into a tech career easier… I already have plans to pay it forward.”

“I personally know immigrants in Australia who have completed computer science degrees overseas and speak English as a second language. They struggle to find work in their field of study here due to not fitting in with the workplace culture or [facing] somewhat of a language barrier. What a waste of talent!

“Having emigrated from England, I have never faced this barrier in finding work in my industry of experience up until I became a stay-at-home Mum. All of a sudden, my experience isn’t recent enough and the feeling is frustrating and disheartening.

“I feel with my experience within the recruitment sector, I would be well placed to help immigrants, as well as candidates who have been out of work for a period with securing work. Once a web developer myself, I aim to assist with interview prep and through my own networking contacts to assist these candidates in securing internships and paid employment.

“I strongly believe that by having an inclusive and diverse workplace you gain a variety of perspectives and experiences that can only strengthen your business and I believe this will be my so-called selling point when discussing candidates with a potential employer.

“Should I find myself in a position where I am able to impart my knowledge and experience, I know I would gladly do so in the hopes of being able to support other women, POC and immigrants.”

Megan Van Der Weide

Megan Van Der Weide works in the entertainment industry, specialising in automation and rigging.

“The best way I can describe this job to my friends or my family who aren’t in the industry, is I make things like walls or stages or people move using computers.”

“My life in tech has been a journey of using technology to do my job. My career has been facilitated by tech. I already have a career in tech, I just want to pursue it that little bit further, push the boundaries a little bit more and perhaps learn in a different direction. Maybe to bring it all back and tie it all into the arts world, because tech and arts are so intertwined together.”

“I want to be a part of the conversation. I want to be in the room where the tech happens.”

“Receiving the honour of this scholarship will not only financially propel me into my Diploma of Information Technology but also instil the confidence that I have what it takes to achieve great things in this space.”

“I will have a positive impact on the industry by embodying a representation to women that this is a realistic career option. I deserve this scholarship because I am someone who has faced the challenges that gender diversity imposes on our workplaces.

“I was one of the few women in automation/rigging in my industry, a job that was seen predominantly for men. I stayed and progressed in these roles even when the odds were against me. Having my opinions shut down and questioned created motivation for me to push even harder to ensure safety and efficiency in my workplace. I will use this leadership mindset and passion to progress myself as a figurehead in the space to endorse fellow young women to embark on a similar career path.”

Lily Nöel

Lily Nöel is a passionate beginner in the tech space, determined to follow her chosen career path and to encourage others to do the same.

“The tech space is my design studio, my canvas and my muse.”

“After spending some time searching for my purpose as a creative, as a professional and in general as a person through travel, work and study, my keen interest for digital creation has illuminated the answer that has been there all along.

“The tech space is where I have been exploring, learning and experimenting as an artist for most of my adult life. In 2022, I will continue to grow my skills not only creatively but also professionally as a full stack developer. I have found my niche where the chaos of creating meets the form and function of coding.”

“It is my hope and intention to be part of the diverse representation of women in the tech industry, autistic women in particular. As a woman with autism, I’d like to signify that there are no limitations to what can be achieved when you work hard and believe in yourself and your ability to thrive regardless of your starting point.”

“If selected as the recipient of this scholarship, I will have the opportunity to embark on my coding journey and make a contribution as an autistic woman in the tech industry. It is my hope to empower other women to do the same by continuing to celebrate tech through my work, to inspire important conversations that encourage diversity, equality, inclusivity and accessibility in this field, to learn, grow and invoke thought within the tech space and to pave the way for other neurodivergent women who dream of a career in tech.”

“My existing skill set is entirely self-taught and most of my work has been created and delivered from a hospital bed. I believe that anything is possible if you believe in yourself”

“Today I am healthy, strong and ready to explore this new frontier and experience all of the ways that learning to code will help me grow my skill set in pursuit of a rewarding career in tech.”

Go from not knowing a single line of code to coding legend in less than a year. Master the fundamentals of full-stack web development in 10 months with our Web Development Bootcamp.

Now enrolling | 100% online | Study now, pay later with FEE-HELP!

Coder Academy – Where Coders Are Made.

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