Student Spotlight: Mohammad Saman Fayazi

10 March 2022Written by Emma Woodward
Explore the incredible story of Mohammad Saman Fayazi, a student at Coder Academy who is studying remotely from an immigration detention center. Despite his challenging circumstances, Saman's determination to transform his life through coding shines through. Discover how he receives support from his educators and classmates, his passion for learning, and his future career aspirations. Join us as we delve into Saman's journey and gain insight into the inclusive and supportive community at Coder Academy.

Many students studying with Coder Academy have incredible stories, and most have chosen a bootcamp because they want to transform their lives in some way. But when it comes to incredible stories, Mohammad Saman Fayazi’s stands out.

Like a handful of other students, Saman (Sam) is studying remotely. Unlike other students, Sam is studying from an immigration detention centre.

Despite the enormous challenges that Sam has faced, he is determined to make a better life for himself, and for his family.

Everyone who meets Sam speaks highly of this resilient, talented, and patient man. As one of his educators says, “He’s our best student even if he’s been 100 per cent remote on the other side of Australia the whole time. Fantastic skills, puts in effort 24/7 (literally codes over weekends for fun), and super communicative in class.”

Originally from Iran, Sam is studying our Web Development (Standard) Bootcamp, and throughout the course, he has been known as a student who helps his fellow learners. Someone who is passionate about passing on whatever he learns, in order to offer support to others.

Likewise, many people have come together to support Sam in his journey. His parents and brother offer their support from Sydney, his friends from throughout the world have sent encouragement and advice, and Anna Buch and Bobbi Waterman of Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney (SASS) have been instrumental in advocating for Sam, and helping to raise funds to support his studies.

Our Academic Manager, Dr. Bianca Power, recently sat down for a virtual chat with Sam.

Bianca: Thanks so much for joining me today Sam.

Sam: No worries. Thank you for inviting me.

Bianca: Being able to join us remotely – because we run the course in a hybrid model, where we have some people joining us on campus, and some people who are joining us from wherever they may be online – that opportunity to join remotely has presented a unique opportunity for you, hasn’t it?

Sam: Yes, actually it did… I guess joining remotely, and being all by myself here, it gave me more time to focus on the subjects we learnt and to study. Because when you’re doing it remotely, in my opinion, you can push yourself more to pursue what you want to learn, you know, and to learn more, I guess. And, yeah, that was kind of a good experience too.

Bianca: That’s a really good point. And how did you feel that you were supported by your educators and your classmates as you were going through the course?

Sam: It was absolutely fantastic. I had a really great support from Nandini and Alex – especially Nandini – she was always really kind and nice to me, especially in the beginning of the course, and I always hope they get the best in their life, because they really helped me a lot, and I could, with their support, learn a lot.

Nandini helped me to overcome some of my fears – feelings I had, like the imposter syndrome I had. From the beginning, I thought, “I’m not good enough, I can’t, I’m not like others,” you know? But somehow I could manage, with their support, just to get through the course.

And actually, since starting the last assignment, I have the kind of feeling that I can learn any language now.

Bianca: That’s fantastic. And, yeah, I think imposter syndrome is a big one… it’s something that so many of our students and developers, and people, in general, will experience, and will face. Let’s go a little bit backwards, back to before you enrolled. What was your overall motivation for doing the bootcamp?

Sam: When I was younger, when I was a teenager, I started learning Visual Basic. It was back in 2007, it was Visual Basic 6.0, but because I was a teenager, I didn’t care about study that much. I was trying to enjoy life as much as I can, and yeah, I just gave it up.

I didn’t touch any coding since 2007 till 2020. I started to learn on my own, and I started just by learning some basic JavaScript, and HTML, CSS – and then I came across a Coder Academy bootcamp, when I was browsing to see if I can find any good courses.

Bianca: Alright, let’s see. We’ve talked about studying remotely, and the things that led you to do the bootcamp. Was there any particular subject or any area of interest that you have that… you want to pursue in the future?

Sam: I think I have gravitated to backend, more than the frontend. But still, I like to know the frontend, and I like to know more, to learn more about React and some other frameworks of React. But after the course, I will mainly focus on backend, especially with Node.js, and once I feel comfortable with Node.js and extras, I might start learning C# on my own. But we’ll see.

Bianca: Yeah, awesome. And that’s the awesome thing about coding as well, right? Once you learn how to code, it’s pretty easy to pick up another language. And even though you’ve focused on web development, you can absolutely go and pick up C# and use it to make desktop apps, or whatever you might want to pursue. It’s really exciting, I think.
So, as you’re coming to the end of your course… what are you hoping to do next? What’s next on your career journey?

Sam: Ah, one of the problems I have – because I’m at the moment in an immigration detention centre – I’ve been here since 2013, and I’m not sure when I will be able to go and live in society. While I’m here I have no option to work for paid work, but if there is some kind of job as a volunteer role or as an internship, an unpaid job, I can do that.

I’m not sure if I get that opportunity, but other than that, if I get my visa and get out of here – soon hopefully – I would like to start a career as a developer. If it’s possible.

Bianca: One of the things that I’ve heard is that you’re so keen to learn and to keep learning, and I’m sure that whatever the future brings for you, you’re going to take that into your future, and continue to have a great deal of success, as you have been over the past ten months as well.

Everyone from Coder Academy would like to wish Sam the very best for the future. In the words of Tamara Popper, who was our industry and internship liaison manager throughout Sam’s studies, “It has been delightful getting to know and work with Sam. He is an exemplary person in all ways.  His life circumstances have been extraordinary, to say the least.”

“Once Sam is out of detention, he’ll navigate his way with the support of his family and the many friends he has made. Above all, he will succeed in achieving whatever his goals are, due to the person he is. We will all be hearing about him in the future.”

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