As a writer, there are some things in life that you are hesitant to write about, simply because you feel you wont do it justice. One week upon returning from my time with The Institute of Code (IOC) and I found myself repeatedly giving the same answer when people asked me “so how was it??” “It’s hard to talk about without gushing” I’d tell them back. Okay, but we still want to know, I’d see in their faces. But the problem was, I just didn’t know where to start.
It’s just emotions, taking me over
I’ll start today with pinpointing the emotion, I felt overwhelmed and grateful as soon as I stepped into the Institute of Code villa. Antonia, my soon to be roommate remarked: “It looks like something out of Vogue Living” as we stepped out of airport transfer to our home for the next 10 days. And it was true; it was stunning; clean, spacious and minimalist. As you walked through the building and looked into the distance, you saw an infinity pool backed onto lush green nature. Scattered around the villa, your mentors, eager to meet you, waiting with warm smiles. That feeling, this sort of overwhelming + gratefulness stayed with me till the end of my trip, which was just as well, as it meant I took in each moment like a much needed cup of tea.
The business of coding
Also the websites. We were recommended over 10 websites and resources to help make our life easier, from rights free image use and a place to upload your code in case you make a dire mistake to places to get websites icons and colour picker apps– all the types of hacks you need to genuinely start building websites and be a coding G. We also got a bespoke guide that we’d be allowed indefinite access to, which goes over course content and is constantly being updated with new content too.
I’m guilty of this myself. In business when you reference technical support, the phrase can just slip out of your mouth: “maybe you can get your IT guy to look at it”. This is an issue. In the field of IT female representation is disproportionately low. We know this from self-published statistics from some of the worlds biggest companies that at Facebook for example; technical female employees make up 15% of the total, and at Google not much higher at 17%. In a Stack Overflow survey (community for coders) it appeared even less with only 5.8% identifying as female. Our Institute of Code group was made up of 11 female students, 11 girls making a serious investment into their futures, in the field of IT. My group was extremely hard working, too. You would often find us coding into the early hours of the morning. We all had the same mind-set – I am going to learn as much as is humanly possibly during my time here.
So now I know what you’re thinking. 11 girls, 10 days, high-pressured situation – tell me about the DRAMA. But no, sorry folks, there was none of that. Everyone in our groups was very different, diverse backgrounds, from varying places in the world, contrasting skillsets, and yet we got along like 11 perfect peas in a pod and were incredibly supportive of each other. Naturally we all had our breakdowns, when our websites were broken beyond return and life appeared to dissipate before our eyes, but there was always a smiling face and a practical offering from someone, which you couldn’t be more grateful for. This meant that aside from the hard-core code learning, my time was filled with intelligent debates and silly chats that made me laugh so much my belly hurt.
IOC is co founded by Tina May, a content, down-to-earth entrepreneurial coding queen who lives and works in Bali. At the dinners or at moments of the day Tina gleefully engages with the class. Helping with the odd coding difficulty, or taking you through her hardship in being kicked out of her own company, and most importantly overcoming that event in her life. Emilio, the other co founder of IOC, also has his own entrepreneurial history that he’s happy to dive into. Apart from that he’s a super talented photographer – did somebody say new Facebook profile picture??
So what’s this avengers reference about? This is a reference to the epic-ness of our mentors. We had six mentors, four coding and two standard. I don’t want to go into them too much personally as you may have different people for your cohort but they were pretty awesome. A lethal concoction of travel bloggers, entrepreneurs, digital nomads and coding wizzes, who were there to have a chat anytime and answer a coding gripe at midnight because you could quite go to bed without resolving it.
Home away from home
So you may or may not know I’m very obsessed with food. And boy do you eat, healthily of course. Institute of Code offers you a programme of amazing food including snack sessions, smoothies and Balinese dinners, which had both meat eaters and vegetarians alike salivating. If you have a particular dietary requirement – it is catered for and more.
I unfortunately arrived at IOC ill. But I was determined not to let it ruin my experience. I was really looked after by the team and offered whatever I needed for my road to recovery (special teas, medicine etc). More than that they really cared about mine, and everyone’s wellbeing throughout the stay. I have to shout out the retreat manager who was basically like having a fun mum for 10 days. (Thank you Alexis).
If all that doesn’t sound fun enough, I’ll also talk a little bit about our extra curricular activities. You’re not just coding constantly, as fun as it was 🙂 you do get to leave the villa! We got to visit local markets, beaches, Ubud’s monkey forest, a local village ceremony, a fun bar of sunset cocktails and a night out in the infamous La Favella, (in Seminyak) which was much needed after a week of hard work.
Relaxing is on the programme too. With a masseuse on hand (a free one included with your stay) and yoga offered in the mornings and afternoons, we were really able to keep our heads during our time there. Something I particularly enjoyed was that we started class with a morning mediation, led by the magical yoga teacher Amaranta. It was the perfect was to start our richly packed days.
All good things come to an end. And the Institute of Code is one of those things that I’ve done that I will probably tell the kids about. I made some really good friends that I hope I will keep for a long time, I engaged inspirational people which helped pivot/direct my next step in life and I learnt skills that will help open up my opportunities and offer me freedom for the life I want to live. As I am writing this I have already secured two website building opportunities which I can use to build my portfolio. So I guess to the tech world: watch this space. And to The Institute of Code, a big thank you.
I totally want to do this
I don’t blame you. Considering the European Commission has predicted a skills gap of over 800,000 ICT jobs in Europe by 2020, and 1.4 million IT jobs and Canada around a similar time frame, the time really is now. Please see some details below for connecting with The Institute of Code. I would also keep a close eye on their newsletter as they have offered scholarships to women in the past, and why not next one be to you? You can also enquire about costs (which I paid over instalments FYI). If you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer below. This is not a sponsored post.
For more of my Bali adventures and recommendations simply click here or give me a shout on my Instagram, @thewadingwade. To see the full album of photos from my time at the Institute of Code, view on Facebook here.