Grayce ‘Women in Tech’ Scholar, Anam Asif shares her journey into tech. From moving to the UK, to navigating motherhood whilst trying to kickstart her tech career, Anam tells her inspiring story.
I moved away from my birth country, India in 2016 to live in the UK. I grew up in a close-knit, loving, but conservative family, which meant I married young and had children at an early age. By moving to the UK, I could overcome my social and cultural barriers and be free to make my own choices.
I was determined to make an identity of my own and started looking for courses and programmes to enrol onto. I started with volunteering at a local school, initially aiming to gain experience to apply for a PGCE. But unfortunately, I couldn’t pursue this due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I also accepted a role as an Assistant Tennis Coach for Under 10s, with a similar aim. I then looked for courses on Udemy and other online learning platforms.
Choosing a Career in Tech
I had an early experience in programming languages which influenced my decision to start a Python bootcamp on Udemy. It was an intense 22-hour, self-paced learning course and kept me intrigued throughout. Completing the bootcamp gave me a sense of accomplishment and a direction to move forward.
Through further research, I came across Code Nation, a digital training provider based in Manchester and Chester. I applied for their 3-week ‘Develop’ course which is government-funded. I successfully completed the course, learning more about Python, HTML and CSS, along with making projects to showcase my new skills, including a text-based, Python game. I was extremely interested in continuing with their ‘Master’ coding course, but sadly couldn’t afford it.
Since my daughter was now two, she could attend nursery and I could look for jobs. With little work experience and an obsolete bachelor’s degree, my job search was challenging. I finally found a role in retail banking as a Customer Service Advisor. I was working towards saving enough to fund a ‘Master’ coding course with Code Nation. But the plan soon fell apart when I was spending a major chunk of my income on childcare.
Upskilling through the Grayce Women in Tech Scholarship
Financial barriers have always significantly influenced my training and job opportunities. I continued to keep researching how I could pursue my career goals. Thankfully, I found Grayce’s ‘Women in Tech’ scholarship through social media. I immediately applied for it and was thrilled to be one of the successful candidates!
Along with technical skills, I developed soft skills like communication, presentation skills, collaborating with others, and managing challenging stakeholders. I’ve also learnt how to work in an Agile environment, using tools like Trello and Kanban boards.
A Confidence-Boosting Learning Journey
From industry best practices to tech tools and teamwork, it’s been an incredible learning journey so far. Grayce has been immensely supportive throughout my training and, after completing the coding bootcamp, I got a guaranteed interview for Grayce’s Tech+ Development Programme.
This experience has been a huge boost for my self-confidence! I will forever be grateful to Grayce for recognising my passion to make something of my life and be more than just a mum. I can never thank them enough for giving my tech career the start it needed!