April 28, 2023

Circumstances may force us to pause, but they cannot stop us from pursuing our dreams

Ahmad Al Hariri and Selvi Ece Dugan recently graduated students from Re:Coded boot camp in Türkiye. They are developing their careers in the digital economy and becoming future leaders in technology. “This is what is needed now as Syrians face many difficulties finding jobs because of the closed jobs to Syrians in Türkiye,” says Ahmed.

Although from very different backgrounds – Selvi grew up in a middle-income family living in Alanya, Türkiye and Ahmad fled from Syria during the war – the two have a number of formative experiences in common. Both Front-End Developers have had the experience of unemployment, working in jobs they do not like, and ambitious, adventurous spirits. 

In 2019, Ahmad Al Hariri was forced to flee his hometown of Daraa, leaving behind his dream of becoming an English teacher. Ahmad joined the 3.6 million refugees seeking shelter in Türkiye and without proof of his previous academic accomplishments and legal status, he was unable to finish his English literature degree. Working as a day labourer in factories, attempting to save enough money to finish his education in Türkiye, he says: “Every day, I’d come home from the factory, change my clothes, and immediately take a couple of hours learning new things online.” 

Selvi’s journey has been one of continuous growth and self-discovery. Her career path has taken her through various fields, from international relations to cinema and television, and now to coding and technology. Selvi poses a common question that many individuals face when it comes to choosing a career: “What if we have multiple passions and want to pursue them all?”

The rapidly changing tech landscape means the web development industry continues to grow quickly and is expected to grow by at least 13% in the next decade. SPARK, with support from the Qatar Fund for Development through the Economic Resilience through COVID-19 programme, endeavours to provide equal opportunities for refugees and less privileged youth in host communities. In partnership with the non-profit organisation, Re:Coded, which empowers tech leaders with digital skills, SPARK has initiated the Frontend Web Development Bootcamp. 

Frontend Web Development Bootcamp

Seeking to gain highly-sought after tech skills that can lead to well-paying jobs, Selvi and Ahmad both joined the bootcamp, which provides a three-stage learning journey, beginning with the fundamentals of web development, including JavaScript and React, and culminating in students developing unique professional portfolio projects. Throughout the programme, students collaborated with web developers to create real-world solutions in teams. Upon completion of the bootcamp, graduates are automatically eligible for six-month post-graduation career services and job facilitation, during which they receive assistance from career coaches and access to private sector employers, including Getir, Atlassian, SmartUp Network, and Akinon Tech. 

“Coding has to be beautiful”

Both Ahmad and Selvi agree that coding and programming languages have been nothing short of fascinating. “Coding has to be beautiful,” says Ahmed. “I want to build the next culture-shifting website or web application. I love programming languages. I love how it is a combination of science, art, and craft.” Selvi, on the other hand, expressed her admiration for coding and programming languages in a romantic way, stating, “I’m obsessed with these languages and their power. I wouldn’t complete the boot camp if it weren’t beautiful.”

Selvi has already developed her own portfolio and found a career that aligns with her ambitions. She credits the bootcamp: “It helped me to finally narrow my focus and find a career that suits my character and lifestyle. I look forward to starting a remote internship and conquering the world in the field I have chosen.” 

Ahmad expressed his surprise at everything he learned during the bootcamp, particularly about JavaScript and its capabilities. He had no prior background in the subject, which made the experience even more satisfying. “For the first time, I feel I am ready. My portfolio is in place and I have big plans, and I have the freedom to look for a job in a remote style. This is what is needed now as Syrians face many difficulties finding jobs because of the closed jobs to Syrians in Türkiye.”