Digital month: Creating Jobs

Waltham Forest resident, Ruth Bovell found work as a direct result of digital events she attended last November.

Before November 2018, aspiring software developer Ruth Bovell says her confidence had been “decimated by unemployment”. As a computer science graduate, work had been hard to come by, but when a job centre adviser told Ruth about a ‘Tech Camp’ taking place as part of the Council’s ‘Digital Month’, things began to look up.

Digital Month seeks to help Waltham Forest residents connect through technology, encouraging the sharing of skills and knowledge to improve confidence and foster stronger community engagement. At Tech Camp, Ruth joined a team competing to pitch the best “tech idea” to judges from the digital industry. What was at first a daunting experience evolved into a great success story, when Ruth’s team progressed to the final.

“We had to present in front of the judges twice, which was scary but really improved my confidence and belief in myself,” says Ruth. “It gave me something special to talk about in interviews as it strengthened several skills: teamwork, communication and presentation. It also demonstrated to employers that I had a strong interest in working in technology and we were mentored by staff from Amazon Web Services as part of the camp, which was seriously cool.”

With her interest piqued by Tech Camp, Ruth looked into other Digital Month events and attended the Digital Month Hackathon session, where she was able to collaborate with organisations such as DXW Digital, which researches, designs, builds and operates services for the public sector. “I also got to learn from other more experienced developers and sharpen my skills in JavaScript programming,” adds Ruth.

Another organisation at supporting Tech Camp, a local digital ticketing company ‘Ticket Lab’, offered Ruth work experience and as a direct result of the skills she built at Digital Month events, she is now employed as a Graduate Java Developer. 

“I definitely think the Hackathon was a positive influence [on gaining employment],” says Ruth. “I had the academic knowledge but lacked real world experience of working on software with other people.”

“It was a great opportunity to supplement my theoretical knowledge with the soft skills, which are so needed to work as a software developer.”

For more information on Digital events planned this November visit wfdigital.co.uk or follow #wfdigital on Twitter and Facebook.