My journey in the World of Tech

I am where I belong, thanks to UNICEF and Open Data Kosovo

Diellza Avdyli
UNICEF/2020/ Kosovo
11 December 2020

A little before the pandemic changed the way we teach, learn, and live, I came across Open Data Kosovo’s social media post about the Techstitutiton workshops which aims to equip young people with crucial skills in web development. Previously, many of my friends told me about these workshops, how many young people engaged and how beneficial it was for their future career development. Their enthusiasm encouraged me to apply!

To all tech enthusiasts reading my story, I am Diellëza, 22-year-old from Fushë Kosovë, a third-year Computer Science and Engineering student at UBT, and as of October 2020, a Junior Software Developer at ODK.

I was introduced to the professional ICT workplace, through the Techstitution Workshops when I was only 22 years old. I was so happy to be part of the training and to contribute to the development of digital solutions along with 11 other motivated individuals. Throughout the workshop, we first started learning about front-end development and the various technologies and programming languages, such as: HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, GitHub, amongst others.  Erëzë, (also, a Techstitution beneficiary-turned-ODK Software Developer), and the other 11 participants who were just as motivated to learn more about web development as me, made this experience even better.

During the workshop, I was glad that I got the opportunity to learn about the digital solutions development processes, and worked on my very own website prototype which was about visualizing data in regards to COVID-19. The knowledge gained during this workshop served as a great preparation for what was to come.

Erëzë, my mentor, a 23-year-old form Pristina, invited me for an interview to join ODK as an intern due to my great engagement during the workshop.  “Diellëza is always eager to learn new things, takes initiative, and has a great attitude which makes working with her fun; which made me see her as a great candidate for the internship position at ODK” Erëzë highlights with great enthusiasm.

And this is how the start of a new chapter began for me.  Thus, from June to September, as an ODK intern, I was immersed into many digital solutions being developed by the amazing team at ODK. Nevertheless, I mostly worked on the Distance Learning platform part of the Techstitution project. Reflecting upon the vast changes the pandemic had upon our lives, this platform addresses the little ones - the children who need activities to keep up with the great energy they have.

Only in 5 months I gained experience on front-end development which is what you see when you surf through the platform, about time management and task prioritization from home and from the office, and about developing digital solutions which fit user expectations. This experience has molded me to become a better junior software developer.

It’s definitely amazing to work at ODK surrounded by strong individuals and see how the modern workplace has evolved. I am lucky to be surrounded by strong women who are breaking stereotypes and working in a field that is male-dominated. ODK’s work has made possible for more than 400 youth to be part of these workshops which are supported by UNICEF Kosovo through Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Many of young people developed solutions such as Open Contracts and Mentorship IV Youth. utilizing tech skills for social good.

Projects such as Techstitution provide to young people opportunities to delve deeper into the ICT world, challenge themselves, and realize their potential in this field. ODK has given me a closer look on how technology can be used to address social issues and find solution Now, as part of the ODK team after a dynamic and novel experience, I am looking forward to working on digital solutions which make access to data and information easy, fast and free.

This experience reinforced a quote which I live by: ‘Work hard, it will definitely pay off someday’.