Canadian tech school RED Academy’s mission is to give opportunities to creators to help them make a meaningful impact on the world. We were excited to find out that RED Academy offers Impact Scholarships to make these opportunities available to even more people. We spoke to two scholarship winners, UI Design student Jane Li, and Web Development student Amelia Garvin, to find out why they are switching careers and how the scholarship is helping them get there. Find out their scholarship stories, which courses are eligible, how to apply, and how much the scholarships are worth.
RED Academy has campuses in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada and London, UK offering 12 and 24-week courses in full-stack Web Development, UX/UI Design, Digital Marketing, and Web & App Development. RED Academy has allocated CAD 15,000 towards helping more people impact their own lives and the lives of others through tech education.
Scholarships are open from November 1 to 17th on a rolling basis for these 3 Impact Scholarships (once they’re gone, they’re gone!):
We spoke to Jane Li, a full-time UI Design student in Toronto, and Amelia Garvin, a full-time Web Development student in Vancouver, to hear about their plans to pass on their knowledge to others when they graduate.
What were you up to before RED Academy and why did you decide to attend?
Jane: I ended my long-term position as a 2D artist and animator in March, and was freelancing here and there after receiving my bachelor’s degree in animation from Sheridan College. I wanted to have a better portfolio and to understand more about design in general. I had a friend who attended RED Academy, and she loved her experience. She recommended that I attend their sampler UI Design class. That class was such an eye-opening experience that it made me want to attend the immersive UI Designer Professional program.
Amelia: Before I decided to attend RED Academy, I worked full-time as an art teacher and freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and visual artist in Vancouver, Canada. My career in the arts followed a Fine arts degree from Emily Carr University where I focused my time trying to learn how to build something in as many different ways as possible. I experimented with mediums from metal-working to Adobe suite and graduated with a lot of tools in my creative toolbox. I decided to enroll in RED Academy’s Web Developer Professional program to add more tools to my box to launch a career in tech. I came to RED to challenge myself and learn something completely new. My goal is to blend my knowledge of art and design, my teaching background, and my new found skills to help others transition into a junior developer role.
How did the Impact Scholarship make it possible to attend RED Academy?
Jane: To be honest, even though I really wanted to attend RED Academy, I felt a bit wary after looking at the tuition fee. I heard about the scholarship during the sampler class, which was three days before the deadline. I went for the scholarship not just for the discount but also to see if I was the right fit for this program or not. So I stayed up late and submitted a little animated video that I felt best represented me as a designer. I was really thrilled that I got the scholarship because it solidified my decision to enroll at RED.
Amelia: The Impact Scholarship from RED Academy enabled me to focus on pursuing a new career path as it relieved some of the financial stress that comes with the price of education. I was very excited to learn that RED Academy offered this financial aid, and was even more excited to have won the award.
RED asked us to answer the question; “How would you use your education to make an impact in your life and the lives of others?” I used my answer as an opportunity to clearly envision how I wanted to shape my future with my education. I wrote that I would use my education to help others find a path into tech by becoming a future mentor, a teacher, and a resource for others looking to transition into the exciting world of tech. As I move through the bootcamp, I keep this vision in mind to keep me motivated and focused throughout the semester.
How is RED Academy helping you to become a UI Designer and Web Developer? Does the teaching style match your learning style so far?
Jane: I really like how RED Academy incorporates current technology and updates its lessons accordingly. I think it’s very important for UI Designers to stay up-to-date with industry trends at all times because technology is constantly changing. I also like that I get to work with real clients to build my portfolio. As a creative thinker, I learn through trial and error and RED has exercises for each class so I can learn the concept through application.
Amelia: The reason why web development is so exciting is that it allows you to take someone’s idea and bring them to life. RED Academy is teaching me the skills to make that happen. Although a bit intimidating at first, the hands-on projects and exercises facilitated by the instructors allowed me to quickly dive into the inner workings of my computer! It is a lot to chew on, but the small class sizes, dedicated staff and open layout of the facilities make learning fun, interactive and invigorating. Nested inside the curriculum at RED is an emphasis on soft skills such as networking tips, communication, and career guidance. For example, every Monday morning is dedicated to what is called ‘RED Town Hall’ where all members of the current cohort participate in group activities that encourage members of different classes to meet and mingle. The structured social events are key to developing strong relationships and seeing all the amazing things that other people are learning!
The most significant part of the learning experience at RED is the final project, aptly named ‘the community project’ as the students pair up with businesses in the city to help them build a working WordPress website. The students work in teams from within their area of study as well as working with the clients, designers, and digital marketers.
What’s your advice to someone considering RED Academy or another coding bootcamp?
Jane: My advice is to do research and understand what you are going into before fully committing to it. Attend a sampler class, talk to people who went through the experience, and see how they feel about it.
Amelia: The best advice that I can offer is to do research on the institution that you are going to attend. Go to their social events, meet alumni, and get acquainted with their facilities so that you can really get a sense of whether it will be a good fit for you. More often than not, these will take the form of introductory courses, workshops, and networking opportunities facilitated by the school for potential new students. In the end, it is the people at the school who will work with you to redefine your skill set so it is best to see if your values align. A hot tip for anyone considering doing a bootcamp is to do as much self-learning as you can before you start your course. Luckily, there are a lot of online resources to get started and play around with code!
The benefit of coding bootcamp programs is that you are surrounded by like-minded people that can really propel your learning. That being said, it is a short program, so revisiting concepts on a continual basis is necessary in order to retain all the new information. Make a schedule, stick to it, find a coding buddy and get used to the idea that your evenings and weekends for the next couple months should be dedicated to learning!
What are your plans after graduating from RED Academy?
Jane: My plan is to continue perfecting my portfolio so that I can get a job as a designer at a design agency or a tech company.
Amelia: Upon graduation, I would like to become involved in teaching code and getting a junior developer position in a company that can help me grow as a developer in Vancouver. Ideally, I would like to create a career that can bridge my art and design knowledge with my new technical background. I am looking forward to what the future holds.