Teaching to learn

Sharing digital skills

In the latest article in our “My Positive Future” series, software developer Ismail Norri shares how he has been helping young people in Morocco discover a positive future through digital technology.

“For me it’s simple – giving is receiving,” says Capgemini software engineer Ismail Norri. “When you give, you receive something back. And when you give the best you can, it brings happiness. The same thing happens with teaching. When you teach, you learn what you don’t know. You could even say that the next level of learning is teaching.”

Based in Casablanca, Morocco, Ismail recently brought this enlightened attitude to giving and receiving when he volunteered to run a training session for young Moroccans wanting to learn about working in digital technologies.

The session was part of a free training course in coding and software development, and continues Capgemini Morocco’s ongoing partnership with YouCode, a school that offers support to young students in the digital field and readies them for a career in technology.

Ismail’s session was attended by a diverse mix of students and school and college graduates. “It was meant to run over two hours for 20 people, but it proved very popular,” he says. “We ended up with 83 people participating and stayed for three hours.”

The class was based on an introduction to Angular, a platform used for front-end (user-interface) website and app development, and also included time for questions and answers about software development and careers in digital technology.

“To help the students learn about Angular, we took a learning-by-doing approach,” says Ismail. “We worked together to solve a ‘use case’ – an example of something that they might encounter in the real world. Later in the session, I also shared best practices based on real things I’ve been doing in my own work.”

As well as learning technical skills, Ismail says the session also encouraged teamwork.

“Collective intelligence is powerful,” he says. “When people come together to think collectively, they can solve problems quicker and innovate better. Innovation is a key skill in software development and when you are a developer you don’t work alone, you work as a team of people who all bring different skills. That means having soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking, as well as the technical skills for coding. One of the things I like best about Capgemini is that you work as a team. I used to play rugby, and at Capgemini we work together like a rugby team.”

Continuous learning

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a software developer, Ismail says, is that you always have the opportunity to learn new skills.

“I really wanted to encourage the students in our session to have an attitude of continuous learning,” says Ismail. “Technology advances quickly, and what is normal today can be replaced with something better tomorrow. As a developer, you always need to keep up with change and continue to learn new skills. It’s good to know this from the start.”

Ultimately, he says, working in technology and software development is about solving problems.

“When someone comes to you with a problem and you apply your skills and experience to it and solve it, then that’s the best thing. Technology frees us to have space to think and innovate, which facilitates our lives and helps us solve problems for humanity. I think this is the main goal in what we do. We need to dream big, work hard, and innovate – and along with some technology skills, that’s what I wanted to pass on to the students.”

Diverse backgrounds

That opportunity to ‘pass it on’ is a foundation of Capgemini Morocco’s partnership with YouCode, which has currently seen 450 people from diverse backgrounds participate in training sessions run by Capgemini employees, as well as 10 employability workshops organized for the benefit of young people from the Soleterre Morocco association, which promotes social and employment inclusion.

“Something I wanted to emphasize to the people in my session was that I was like them,” says Ismail. “I started from zero but have now have a career as a developer. Everyone is different and brings their own pasts with them. To progress in your career – or to make a better future – everyone faces in the same direction, but everyone takes a slightly different path to get there.”

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