Without doubt the best thing about working at SPICED is being a part of our students’ journeys, and seeing them grow from beginner developers to being capable of some pretty amazing things. Wlad graduated from SPICED recently and is currently searching for a job. He’s our first student to have come through the Job Center in Germany, which gives unemployed people that are registered here the opportunity to learn a new skill (like web development) and get back into the workforce. You can find more information on that here.

I left Russia because of the crisis. It didn’t make sense to be there anymore. I had a friend living in Berlin I could stay with, and they told me language wouldn’t be too much of a problem. My German and English were both bad, so that sounded good to me.

It was October 2015. I packed up and left Russia, moving in with my friend for three months – we agreed I’d be out before the New Year. I knew that upon arrival I wouldn’t immediately find a job to pay for a rent, so I knew would be tough. I hoped the Job Center would help. My first month passed just trying to get an appointment with the right person.

Once I finally got the correct appointment, things got even more complicated: I needed a registration address, for which I would need a flat, and for a flat I needed help from the Job Center. With no other choice left, I arrived at the Police Station to register as homeless.

New Year came and my time with my friend ran out. My wife, Liuba, came to Berlin. We started to live out of cheap hotel rooms, booking each one the same day as a last minute deal and hauling our bags from room to room. I had €50 left in the world and no idea what to do next. I found a homeless hostel and the Job Center agreed to pay for it while I was waiting for my papers to come through. I started to learn German. Liuba went back to Russia.

Three months passed.

It was tough. I left Russia and the crisis there only to find myself in an even more difficult situation in Berlin. But I wouldn’t give up. I believe we can do anything except avoid death, and so I kept going, knowing that somehow this would all pay off.

Eventually, Liuba moved back to Berlin and together, after a lot of searching, we found a small place on the outskirts of the city. After 6 months in the flat we were ready with all the papers we needed and Liuba could make her move to Berlin official. Life was starting to feel a bit more settled, and by that point I’d learnt some German and English. It was around this time that, through the Job Center, I found out about a coding school called SPICED Academy based in Berlin. I’d never heard of one before.

From the age of 19 I’d thought about learning to code. I had always wanted to contribute to the world through science and I saw coding as my chance to do that. Until I found out about SPICED, though, this always seemed like a pipe dream – something I might do “one day”. But here I was: the Job Center agreed that the course would benefit me, and I signed up for SPICED in July.

I think almost anyone can learn to code (though that doesn’t mean everyone should) if they’re determined. I don’t think I have a special “coding brain”, I just have motivation. Learning to code means a lot of information, a lot of technologies, a lot of feeling foolish and a lot of understanding nothing. For me it also means a lot of fun. And that’s the most important thing, because if you enjoy something you should keep at it, even if you don’t get it at first. I think if you’re really into it, some day you will become much better at it than other people who just do it for money. And that helped me a lot with learning to code.

SPICED was a difficult 12 weeks. My life was basically S-Bahns, coffee and code for 3 months. Now it’s done and I’m looking for a job as a programmer. I’ve been teaching Liuba to code, and she’s going to start the course soon, too. We’re currently looking for a bigger flat in Berlin.

If you’re currently unemployed and registered in Germany, you may qualify for a Bildungsgutschein (an Education Voucher). This voucher is given to you by the Agentur für Arbeit, and will cover the costs of taking our Full-Stack Web Development Program. Find out more here.

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