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Meet FDM’s First All-Female Cohort of Tech Returners

Two FDM returners from our first all-female cohort share their stories of getting back to work after a career break.

This year we saw the first all-female cohort of consultants complete their training on the FDM Tech Returners Programme. The programme is tailored to help professionals return to work after a career break as mid-senior and lead developers. Nine women joined our Tech Returners programme for up to 14 weeks of instructor-led training in current and emerging technologies before being placed with leading financial services and tech companies.

Isha Thanki and Sanddya Thangarajan both joined the FDM Tech Returners programme in May this year. We spoke to these consultants to find out their experiences of joining FDM and heard about some of the challenges they faced when returning to work after a break.

Challenges of returning to work after a break

Before joining FDM, Isha was a stay-at-home mum for two years and Sanddya took a break from her job as a manual tester to look after her family. In spite of having over 6 years’ experience at major tech companies, Isha didn’t get call backs from recruiters. On the other hand, Sanddya, who wanted to move into a technical role struggled because she didn’t have prior technical experience.  

Sanddya Thangarajan & Isha Thanki

The Journey with FDM

Isha and Sanddya both discovered FDM at a time when they were actively looking for permanent roles. The Tech Returners Programme schedule includes technical training in Core Java, Spring Boot, JPA Data access, REST API Microservices, Angular, HTML and CSS along with foundation courses like SQL and Unix. The programme provides real-life use of the latest technologies and a chance to see how projects are delivered in the professional world. Isha was fascinated by the extent to which Java has transformed since the last time she used it. 

The trainers were on hand to provide constant support and clear all doubts so that even those without any prior professional programming experience could pick up the course topics with ease.

Sanddya who previously worked as a manual tester spoke of the help she received with technical interviews. The prep session before every interview boost her confidence and helped her to structure her answers better. 

Collaborating with colleagues

The Tech Returners programme is designed to encourage collaboration among the consultants to prepare them for real-world scenarios that require teamwork. This cohort included a diverse mix of people from different technical backgrounds. They worked together and learnt how to approach a project and prioritise their tasks.  

Isha enjoyed the collaborative nature of the training. She said, ‘Team collaboration is an important aspect of working with different individuals and driving the project. The training provided a good amount of experience of managing work as a team.’ With the varied experiences that the consultants brought to the team, it was an opportunity for them all to learn from each other. Isha also acknowledged the inputs of her colleagues and their constant assurances when she was nervous.  

The back-to-work experience

Both Sanddya and Isha have caring responsibilities, so for them the main challenge of getting back to work was managing their time between training and family. Talking about her transition from homemaker to software developer, Sanddya acknowledged the difficulty of balancing both but highlighted how the trainers, the FDM Academy and colleagues supported her through this phase. She said, ‘When I started my training, my son was in Pre-School from 9.30 to 2.30.  So, if I missed any part of my training during school pick up and drop, I watched the recording later in the evening and cleared my doubts with the trainers the next day.

Isha, speaking of her experience said she prioritised the training, asked for help and let everyone know that they would need to be more independent. 

How FDM can help you return to work

FDM is committed to support more women get back to work. Till date, we have helped over 375 people get back to work after a career break, with over 250 people currently enrolled on our Returners Programme. If you've had a career break of at least 12 months and are interested to explore a role in tech, apply to FDM’s Tech Returners Programme today.

About Preeta Ghoshal

Preeta is a content writer with over 10 years’ experience across print, digital and broadcast media. She has worked extensively in multi-media content creation. Her work reflects a mix of subject matter research and storytelling to produce content that is both informative and easily digestible. She is presently providing content support to each of the FDM programmes and the wider marketing team.


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