Championing diversity and kickstarting careers in tech

The tech sector is booming. But a lack of diversity and a fast and ever-growing talent shortage is very much getting in the way of continued success for the industry. That’s why a new initiative from the TopDutch region, called Alyx, is on a mission to tackle both these issues at the same time, by championing female values and recruiting, retraining and retaining women in tech. And on top of that, they’re also paying a competitive salary right from the start, with guaranteed job placement and a 13% wage gap bonus.

alyx header

Alyx started as a collaboration between impact entrepreneurs Johanna Spiller (founder of Klapstoel Academy) and Diem Do (founder of CodeGorilla). In March of this year, they teamed up to create a safe and empowering learning environment, where women learn how to code and get training in both professional and soft skills by senior women in tech. With a 12-month program that includes a bootcamp and traineeship, participants are given all the tools needed for successful careers as tech professionals. Currently, they train women in Full-Stack Development, IT Infrastructure and business engineering. And after completing the program, they’ll be offered a job as junior tech professional at the partner company they did their traineeship with.

Tech skills and soft skills

The idea behind Alyx came from personal experience in pursuing a career in tech. ‘I started my career at a very forward-thinking tech company with a lot of young people' Johanna explains. ‘However, there weren’t a lot of women working there in technical roles, and the ones that did also tended to quit sooner. That’s not because of the company, but because there’s no one who thinks like you, looks like you or acts like you. You just feel different and you just don’t get the right kind of support you need to grow.’ 

Tech and IT skills alone are not enough, which is exactly why we also teach different soft skills and career strategies.

Johanna Spiller, co-founder of Alyx

‘And that’s such a shame’, Johanna continues. ‘Because I’ve known so many women who were super ambitious when they started out in tech. But when you talk to them a few years later, they feel tired and defeated and will tell you they’re not as interested in pursuing a career anymore. So tech and IT skills alone are not enough, which is exactly why we also teach different soft skills and career strategies. And you’ll stay a part of our Alyx Alumna Community after the program, with plenty of community events to connect with peers. We also work closely with our partner companies to help them create the best possible workplace for retaining talented women.’

A big year and big ambitions

Even though the very first Alyx Program started just last September, there are already plenty of successes to be celebrated, with some great things on the horizon too. ‘I’m still a little amazed at how much has already happened in the span of 9 months’, Johanna says. ‘Everything just completely exceeded our expectations, so we’re very happy about that. We managed to partner up with great companies like Blueriq, KPN, Ilionx and True. As a company, we’ll probably triple in size next year and are planning to open a second location in Utrecht, so I’m really excited.’

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