Student Helps Disadvantaged Youth and Gains Career Skills

By volunteering in the SPARK program, Serdil Demir helped young people develop valuable skills before becoming an intern at one of the largest IT education companies in Turkey.

Developing ICT Skills Through Volunteerism

While studying at Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey, Serdil Demir became interested in volunteering for an organization that contributes to society. He learned about the Youth Movement in Informatics (SPARK) advanced IT training program, which is sponsored by Cisco, Istanbul Technical University, the Turkish Informatics Foundation, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Youth for Habitat, and thought it would be a great opportunity to refine his skills while helping others.

After being selected as a volunteer instructor for SPARK, Demir completed the Cisco Networking Academy IT Essentials instructor training to develop his computer networking skills. “I am studying computer engineering and I want to specialize in networking technologies,” he says. “And having classes delivered by Cisco, the leader of the field, was a major attraction.”

Demir also appreciated the practical learning aspects of the course modules. “The course provides simulations of problems that we will face in real life,” he explains.”After working on virtual computers in the system, dealing with real computers becomes much easier.”

Learning By Teaching

Demir completed his instructor training and began teaching the Cisco IT Essentials course to underprivileged youth through the SPARK program. “The volunteer training contributed a lot to my personal development,” says Demir. “I continued to learn along with the participants, and together we solidified our knowledge. It is a great joy to learn while teaching.”

Career Development

In addition to volunteering, Demir was interested in developing his career. “Following my IT Essentials training, I started to work in a small technical service company in Istanbul,” he recalls. “After my experience there, I became an intern for a major IT company, NETRON, where I’m responsible for a network consisting of 80 PCs and 20 Macs.” Despite his career gains, Demir still finds time not only to teach youth through the SPARK program but also to volunteer as a project assistant.

To learn more about SPARK, please visit the Youth for Habitat website.