Skip to main content

Click Start 2023 Graduates: Rebecca Collins’s Coding Adventure

Rebecca Collins. Photo: submitted by Author

by Rebecca Collins, Click Start Alumna

Hi! I’m Rebecca, a tech enthusiast with a passion for coding, based in Liverpool, UK, with occasional travels across the country.


As someone who enjoys technology and uses it every day, I wanted to enhance my tech-based skills and find opportunities to work within the industry – but also to keep my devices running to the best standard with the knowledge I have. When I first heard about the Click Start by TechUPWomen programme, my main takeaway was that I would be able to learn more about computing, which is something I always found fascinating!

I am confident with technology in general, having grown up exposed to it. I find email management, browsing the internet, and using apps as mundane and easy as making breakfast! However, I didn’t understand anything in relation to code, software development, or user research.

Undoubtedly, the journey on the course was not without its challenges. Something I found a bit tough was learning about DevOps and Eisenhower Matrix. The strong use of jargon and terminology was daunting, but my tutor, Rebena Sanghera, was very good at explaining the definitions and how it all worked. I’m someone who needs to go over what I learn to retain the information. I found reading through my notes, discussing it with others, and practicing immensely helpful!

One invaluable lesson I learned from this experience is the effectiveness of teaching others in solidifying one’s own understanding

One invaluable lesson I learned from this experience is the effectiveness of teaching others in solidifying one’s own understanding. If you struggle to remember something or wish to understand it more clearly, sometimes explaining it to someone else helps retain the information in your head. It’s a very common method that can be overlooked.

Rebecca receiving her certificate of appreciation from the TechUP team, 16 September 2023. Photo: TechUP

The course highlighted something I didn’t think I would be good at, which is coding. Anyone with only a vague idea about coding would look at a snippet of code and think it’s very difficult to understand and work with – but in fact it’s surprisingly achievable to grasp and fascinating. It really boosts your confidence when you code a string that works!

I found the group I studied with very friendly and helpful; they were collegial, open and positive. I will never forget how supportive my tutor and my mentor (Jenn Calland) were during my journey. Both were hugely welcoming, clear with the information they provided, and uplifting and encouraging when we discussed what I would try next.

A Chance to Step Up

I have a natural tendency to reach out to offer help where I can and found myself doing it habitually during my time as a student on the course. I would share my notes with others, ask what part they might be struggling with, and show them an alternative look at the problem and solutions. My peers would praise me for it and noted to staff how helpful I was. As a result, the TechUP team kindly offered me to participate in the next course as a volunteer teaching assistant, something that made me feel acknowledged and appreciated. I was given a chance to take initiative and provide ready links for the new group and Rebena, message anyone who appeared to be stuck to offer help, and provide encouraging feedback and advice based on my experience as a learner.

Rebecca’s graduation certificates, Celebration Event in Durham, 16 September 2023. Photo: submitted by Author

Looking back at my experience with the volunteering role, some aspects were challenging. It can be difficult to increase learners’ confidence and for them to realise they already know how to solve the problem at hand. But then it is fulfilling when they complete the assignment and realise themselves they can do it. From this, I learned to let people figure out the task at their own pace instead of ‘spoon-feeding’ solutions to them. I learned not to worry and fuss over every part of their journeys and to make space for them to learn and experiment themselves.

I am very proud of having had the opportunity to assist in introducing another group of learners to what the Click Start course has to offer. It shows that I was able to help some of the ladies on my own course and make them feel more confident too! One of the welcome side effects of this entire journey is that it gave me much needed confidence to keep talking to others and to socialise, something I struggled with immensely before joining the course. I still check in with some of my peers about everyday life and what the future holds for us career-wise. We tend to brighten up each other’s days and exchange affirmative words.

As I continue to expand my skillset through webinars and networking events, I’m excited to gain proficiency in Python coding, with the intention to delve into Java and HTML next. In the near future, I hope to use what I’ve learned to gain a job and build a career in tech.

To those considering embarking on a similar journey with Click Start, I offer this advice: have a notepad ready, be openminded and willing to engage. I promise, everyone involved is friendly and helpful. Make sure to retain as much knowledge as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Rebecca Collins (first on the left) with fellow learners and tutor during the Celebration Event in Durham, 16 September 2023. Photo: TechUP