Zeina came to Germany from Syria as a refugee in July, 2015. Here she talks to SPICED about her journey from arriving in Germany to becoming a Full Stack Web Developer.
How did you feel arriving in Germany?
Settling in was hard at first. Because of the situation in Syria I couldn’t finish high school and that meant I had to get used to all the cultural and societal differences of my new home while also trying to find a job without any qualifications. I started an integration course, but that only made me more worried that I’d never fit in, and never find my future here.
What were your impressions of Berlin?
Everything began to change for me when I began to meet more and more people here in Berlin. The Berlin I now know is so accepting and open-minded. It’s a place where anyone can be whoever they want and they won’t be judged. I’m so grateful for this attitude that the city has had towards me – it has helped me shape myself into a person I could never have become back in Syria. It’s made me realize how important it is just to be yourself and do whatever makes you happy and comfortable. That’s why this city is very special to me.
How did you hear about SPICED?
Through my social circles in BerIin I was lucky to become friends with a lot of people, one of whom worked for SPICED Academy. He mentioned the Full Stack Web Developer course to me and said it could be a good opportunity. Back then I had no idea what programming was, but I looked into it. I was scared at first because it looked as though it would be very hard, but after all I’d been through I thought it would be silly for me to back off now. After all I’d been through, this could be my opportunity to succeed in life.
Did you ever think of becoming a programmer?
Before I started SPICED I never knew I could do something like programming. My only hobby was drawing, so I never thought it’s something I could learn, and I never really thought I had a logical brain. Since doing the course, though, I love programming! It’s changed my way of thinking to be much more logical and detail-oriented. I learned that I am capable of understanding things that I never thought I could, and I gained so much confidence about myself by completing my projects.
What would be your advice to anyone starting out?
My advice to anyone who wants to start learning to code is to not give up in the beginning! No matter how hard it seems, you WILL get better with practice. Try to spend as much time as you can during the program on coding and doing as many exercises as you can.
Once a friend of mine told me, “if you blame it on circumstances, don’t expect anything to get better.” It really changed my perspective in life, and I could really apply it to my experience with SPICED. Whenever I said to myself “this is too hard, I have no experience, I can’t do it”, I reminded myself that I was wrong. I know very well that we humans are resilient. I’ve seen that through every step of my life. When we really want to do something, we can do it.
Now, at the end of the course, I’ve really proved that to myself.
How do you feel now that you’re working full-time?
It’s been a long road, but I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved. Now I’m working as a Web Developer in Berlin with a company called Commerce Tools, and I’ve just been offered a full-time, permanent position.