30 August 2019 ... min read Listen

Josja’s stretch

My first time in front of a class, I was super nervous.

As a front-end developer I love breaking down complex problems into smaller ones that are easier to solve. The improvements our squad makes on ING’s banking app are being used by millions of people. So the pressure is on!

When I’m off, I like to be challenged too. A year ago I was looking for something to do outside of work, something useful for society. While browsing the internet I came across HackYourFuture, which teaches refugees basic programming skills to help them build a new career here. I dropped them an email and was invited to come in and take a look.

Straight away I knew it was for me. What I liked most was how professional it is. It’s a proper school with a curriculum, exams and a recognised diploma that has value in the labour market. And the students are all really motivated. I also found out ING Netherlands Fund is one of the sponsors, which makes it even better.

Josja Heerema in action at HackYourFuture: “The feeling that I get from sharing my knowledge with these 15 people in front of me, is simply great.”

Josja Heerema in action at HackYourFuture: “The feeling that I get from sharing my knowledge with these 15 people in front of me, is simply great.”

The expert in the room

The first time I had to teach, I was super nervous. Of course, I had prepared a lesson but I had no clue what to expect. What if they asked questions? And what if I didn’t know the answers? But once I started, it felt totally natural. There was no time to be nervous. Actually, I’m teaching them the things that I’m working on during the week at ING. I really am the expert in the room. The feeling that I get from sharing my knowledge with these 15 people in front of me, is simply great.

I’m not saying that teaching is easy. Some of my students come from countries with a very strict school regime. They don’t dare to ask questions in class. For many, asking a question is a sign of weakness, or that other people might think they’re stupid. So now I ask more questions myself. Who knows how this and this works? And then I get people talking.

The good thing is, that this experience is also helping me to grow in my work at ING. I am better at explaining things to colleagues who don’t have a technical background. I have more patience. And my self-confidence has grown, because I’m more aware of my own expertise. This helps when I’m in a discussion or in a meeting and want to get my point across. I used to be a bit shy, but those days are over.

Stretch your limits

At ING, we like to challenge ourselves to continually develop and become the best we can be. In this series, employees talk about the interesting activities they take on outside their ‘regular’ job, and how these also help them grow in their role at ING.

HackYourFuture

HackYourFuture teaches software development to refugees, migrants and others people with limited access to education and the labour market in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Brussels and Toronto. The coding school offers a seven-month full-stack web development programme, with a focus on modern JavaScript. The curriculum is created and taught by a volunteer network of over 40 professional developers. ING Netherlands Fund is one of the partners of HackYourFuture.

www.hackyourfuture.net

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