THE external mentors should ideally be experienced software developers or engineers, and will be expected to guide a group of between four to six students, over a six-month period, starting in September. Picture: Supplied
THE external mentors should ideally be experienced software developers or engineers, and will be expected to guide a group of between four to six students, over a six-month period, starting in September. Picture: Supplied

WeThinkCode seeks volunteer mentors to help build SA’s next generation of software developers

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 20, 2021

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WeThinkCode (WTC) has announced that it is looking for experienced software practitioners to mentor its second-year students and help build South Africa’s next generation of software programmers.

According to the academy, industry mentors will form part of the software programming academy’s new volunteer programme, introduced as part of its revised curriculum, which is scheduled to begin next month.

WeThinkCode is an independent South African software training academy that moulds young minds from under-served populations, into excellent software developers and programmers.

The academy said its courses are fully sponsored by corporate businesses and funding organisations.

Mentorship is a core component of the new curriculum and is partly responsible for the 92% student retention among the academy’s 2020 cohort, the academy said.

Nyari Samushonga, chief executive of WeThinkCode said: “WTC uses a peer-to-peer training methodology that reinforces a structured technical training path. Mentorship support was introduced for first-year students, by allocating high performing second-year students as tech mentors. First years were all put in groups of six and each group was allocated a mentor.

Samushonga said the academy is inviting technology industry experts to mentor the second-year students.

“The goal is to prepare our students for the transition from the academy to the workplace. In this way, mentors can add enormous value,” said Samushonga.

WethinkCode said the external mentors should ideally be experienced software developers or engineers, and will be expected to guide a group of between four to six students, over a six-month period, starting in September.

"This commitment will involve a minimum of one hour every two weeks (12 hours total commitment) to align with the curriculum project iterations," the academy said.

WTC head of community Gina Stoltz said: “This programme will suit the professional, who enjoys coaching and helping young teams grapple with programming problems. WTC will supply the tools, context and links with other mentors, in an opt-in monthly coaching circle.”

Apart from group mentorship, WTC is also looking for volunteers to assist all students in other areas of its programme.

“In our Interview readiness programme, we need members of the tech community to take part in a series of simulated technical interviews. These interviews will help students acquire improved communication and self-reflection skills, enabling them to present themselves with confidence in an actual interview. Volunteers for the interview readiness programme are ideally members of the software development community, with experience in technical recruiting and hiring,” said Stoltz.

“For our planned WomenThinkCode meet-ups, volunteers can opt to host monthly meet-ups specifically for women students in our programme. Finally, we are looking for members of the tech community to participate in our community events calendar, by hosting one-hour talks to inspire students and alumni, by sharing their journeys in the industry and the work in which they are involved.

“This is an exciting phase for our academy, and we are seeing real results in terms of student performance, retention and engagement, due to the approach we have taken with the new curriculum. We would like members of the tech community to be part of the journey and help prepare our students to be life and job-ready, upon completion of the course,” Samushonga said.

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