With a free introductory online course available, hundreds of participants have already taken part in CodeSpace’s bootcamp to learn software engineering skills and enter the country's tech sector 

CODESPACE is an award-winning and accessible route into software engineering designed to address the digital skills gap by finding talent for whom the sector would otherwise be closed. 

Formed through a partnership between Edinburgh College’s computing team and the engineering department of 2i Testing, a leading UK software testing consultancy, CodeSpace is helping career changers and first-time professionals find stable and substantiative employment in Scotland’s tech industry. 

The six-week, full-stack, development bootcamp includes self-paced learning, workshops, mentoring, interview coaching and collaborative projects which simulate the real working environment

Workshops are delivered three days per week, though the conveners recognise that not all participants will be able to attend every session. By design, students should be able to fit CodeSpace around their day-to-day commitments, whether that’s employment, caregiving or other responsibilities. 

CodeSpace is effectively free to start via an online introductory course which allows prospective students to gauge their affinity for working in software without any upfront commitment. Importantly, there are no formal entry requirements – just an enthusiasm for problem solving and a drive to learn. 

Sam Blyth, Head of Computing at Edinburgh College, says: “It’s due to our commitment to being flexible, affordable and inclusive that CodeSpace is transforming not only the lives of individuals but the demographic makeup of the Scottish tech sector in the process.” 

Of the nearly 400 participants in either CodeSpace itself or the introductory course, 24% were non-white, 42% were women and 25% were registered disabled – numbers far above the tech industry average. 

“Throughout my career I have been a champion for widening access to tech education”, Sam says. “CodeSpace is seeing candidates leave job ready and gaining employment.” 
The industry insight offered by CodeSpace’s partnership with 2i Testing is indispensable in addressing the digital skills gap. 

Students have direct contact with engineers from 2i, some of whom are CodeSpace graduates themselves. 

They take a specialised module led by the company and participate in mock interviews, ensuring they have the experience and confidence they need to transition into their first tech position. 

Katherine Leyland, a former early years teacher, is a CodeSpace graduate who recently joined 2i. CodeSpace’s flexibility was a great benefit to Katherine while she was studying. 

“With a possible career change in mind, I set about looking for a course that would allow me to study while caring for my four-month-old baby,” she explains. 

“There were lots of courses available, some were face-to-face which just wasn’t an option for me, and all the others charged a significant fee.” 
For Katherine, CodeSpace’s focus on job-readiness really enhanced her technical training.

“The course also included job skills coaching and work on developing CV’s, presenting skills and coping with imposter syndrome. This was a huge boost for me as I had no idea what a tech interview was like.” 

Katherine now works alongside several other CodeSpace alumni as a Software Test Engineer at 2i, while other graduates have found roles in web development and data science at various organisations across the country. 

For Adam Pettman, Head of Engineering at 2i, the possibilities created by CodeSpace are a huge source of pride. “The opportunity that it presents to people is truly transformational. The idea that we are enabling someone to change their life by changing their career is really powerful and CodeSpace is the best example, in Scotland, of how it can be done.” 

CodeSpace accepts applicants every nine weeks and runs four times a year. This project is supported by Data Skills for Work at The Data Lab through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, funded by the Scottish Government.