Do you also have friends who never worry about their jobs because they always can get a new one? Likely, they are programmers, data analysts, UX designers & online marketers – and here’s how you can become one of them, for free.
“For an IT guy, LinkedIn is like a reverse dating site. Girls write to you and you ignore them.” – a tweet that made the rounds in December – and of course it’s true for women in IT as well.
Yet if you have never worked in tech, it may look to you as either very difficult or very boring – or even both.
But is true? Well, you don’t need to guess. Just do a free (orientation) course. It will show you what fields there are in IT (it’s not only about programming!), and you will even meet people working there.
Here, two programs are described in detail – and at the bottom you can find a link list of even more courses.
Techlabs: 4 months part-time (apply until March 7!)
Techlabs is a non-profit organization, founded in 2017 and now offering courses in already 8 countries, and in Germany in 8 cities. Every city team has a somewhat different offer, so in the following you will only read about Berlin. (Read here about other locations.)
What all courses have in common: They are completely free, you don’t even need a voucher. You only need to apply, show your motivation & background and get approved by Techlabs.
And: You can do them while still working or doing something else. You need only 10 hours per week, for the next 4 months.
What will I learn?
Techlab’s Berlin course has four tracks:
You apply for one of these tracks and will focus on it for the whole of the semester. If you are interested in another field, you can apply next semester. (Having finished successfully one semester increases your chances a lot to get approved for another one.)
The Techlabs course is split into two main parts:
- During the study phase, you will work through online courses mostly by yourself. But don’t worry, there are weekly Zoom calls with your teachers and other participants, and there is a Slack channel where you can ask all of your questions, and find co-learners.
- In the project phase, you will join members from the other 3 tracks, and you all will create an actual IT product: an app or website, solving an actual problem, which at the end your team will also present to all the others.
Who can apply?
Everyone. Techlabs will ask you about your motivation and background, and will pick those people that seem to be engaged & interested enough. If you get approved by Techlabs, you can do the course for free.
How can I apply?
To start this summer semester’s course, fill out this form until March 7. (Next chance will be again in September.)
StartSteps: 1-month orientation (full-time)
A very different option is StartSteps, founded in summer 2020. Instead of already focussing on one tech field, here you can get an overview what tech jobs there are at all.
What will I learn?
During a 4-week full-time course, you will hear about tech skills like:
- Coding & programming basics
- Fundamentals of websites / app building
- Basic (online) marketing tools & methodologies
- Data studies & visualisation
but also non-tech skills like:
- Communication & leadership skills
- Project management basics for digital work
- Knowledge of workflow in a remote work / tech job setting
Find more details in the course flyer (PDF).
Of course, this will not qualify you for already getting an actual tech job. But after this you will know if you want to work in tech at all, and if yes, in which field. StartSteps will also point you to more government-funded training providers in Germany.
Who can apply / get the voucher?
Unlike Techlabs, this course is not for free itself. But it can be free for you if you get a voucher. With that voucher from the German Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit / Jobcenter), the German taxpayer will pay for the course – and it will be free for you.
So how can you get one? Basically, if you can get German social welfare (e.g.: Arbeitslosengeld), you probably also can get this voucher. You have good chances if:
- you have already worked in Germany and paid taxes, and now are about to loose your job, or already lost it, or
- if you have a refugee status, or
- if you have a long-term visa (e.g. as a spouse of someone).
You do not have good chances to get the voucher if:
- you are overqualified, e.g. have a degree in computer science, or
- are here only on a work&study visa / doing an Erasmus, or
- never paid income tax in Germany (and have no refugee status),
- are younger than 24 years.
How can I apply?
Fill out the online form on StartSteps. StartSteps will then contact you and in a phone call and find out how good your chances are to get the voucher. If that looks good, they will guide you on how to contact Jobcenter and help getting the voucher. This can take from 3 days to 3 weeks, so make sure to apply early enough. A new course starts every month.
And if you are approved but have no own laptop, StartSteps will even lend you one for free.
More tech courses
If you already want to dive into a tech field, here’s a list of further courses. All work on the voucher system like StartSteps does.
Do you know even more? Leave a comment below!