Digia on the frontline of easing Finland’s coder shortage

Integrify helps immigrants to get a kick-start to their new life in Finland. But why is Digia involved? Read what Integrify's teacher, developer Nizar Rahme has to say about it.


Digia has been a main partner of Integrify since fall 2017 - and Nord Software, which Digia acquired in 05/2017, was its original founding partner. But what is Integrify and why would Digia want to participate in the program? Let me, one of Integrify’s teachers, explain.

Integrify is a software development center that organizes coding boot camps, particularly for immigrants. The idea emerged due to shortcomings in filling a gap in the Finnish IT industry on the one hand - with thousands of developers needed right now - and on the other hand helping newcomers to kick-start their own lives in their new country.

The program is heavily focusing on modern web development, especially JavaScript. The journey starts off by exploring frontend territory with React/Redux and runs to backend JavaScript (Node/Express). The boot camp is running in Maria 01 (yes, in the old Maria hospital!) which was turned into a startup hub. The program is viewable here on Trello.

Digia’s main role is to provide teachers & support Integrify for the first batch of students for a six-month program of daily nine-to-five commitment.


Mohammed and Anh coding at Digia Runeberginkatu office

Fifteen participants from ten different countries attend the program regularly and many experienced volunteers pop up every now and then offering help. The program is challenging but rewarding. I know, because I went through Integrify’s pilot program which was held less than two years ago.

I got hired afterwards by Nord Software, and later became part of Digia’s Agile Development unit. I worked on various projects that ranged from implementing a one-week long ad hoc feature to six-month long fully-fledged web apps, to name few: an international gaming company, Frank Students, Kodisto and others.

This year’s first graduation is in the spring. After that we send our skilled junior developers to conquer the world, or at least Finland’s IT job market. For two of the graduates the future is a bit clearer that for the others: they will become our new Digian colleagues!

From a personal experience, establishing a brand-new life in a new country is never an easy ride, but there are some factors that help paving this steep path. For me Integrify was one of them, and I’m saving no effort in making that factor available in fifteen other lives. I am glad that Digia sees Integrify worthy of investment and is part of the solution to enable people to achieve their dreams.

As one of our students, Niloo Motamed, described on her blog post on Medium:

“The future is no longer blurry and scary. I have a plan to be a successful developer, to create interesting and useful apps and tools to help the newcomers feel welcomed and to encourage women to join this industry. I know Integrify will help me reach this plan and make my dreams come true.”

The co-operation with Digia also runs in different ways - for the past few weeks, one of the course participants, Mohamed Mansour, is building an internal tool to better visualize what kind of projects we are doing at Digia Agile Development, built with Go and React. Joining him are Digia’s developers Erik Veijola, Christoffer Niska and Thanh Do, as well as Digia’s UI/UX Designer Hanne Zenjuga, utilizing skills learned at Integrify.

So, if anyone wants to learn more about Integrify, suggest a project, volunteer or just come swing by - we are at Maria and are more than happy to welcome all of you to join us! You can also contact Eyas Taha for more information.

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