After two years in the military, 20-year-old Harutyun Pakhanyan found new inspiration in the field of information technology and subsequently applied to the Non-Formal Education for Returnees Program, a web programming course at GTech that caters specifically to veterans. Implemented by the local NGO, Zinvori Mayr (Soldier’s Mother), it aims to empower the youth of Shirak Province with IT skills and knowledge in order to expand their career options. Currently, careers in IT are among the most highly demanded and profitable professions in Armenia.

Harutyun said that HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Linux programs have been tough to learn, but he is doing his best to overcome the challenges in order to develop himself as a specialist. “Before this course, I didn’t have any basic IT skills at all. I used to learn .Net Coding on my own at home with the help of YouTube videos and books, but this is completely different. It was hard to comprehend the lessons at first, but everything came in time,” he said before reiterating his love and passion for this specialization.

Apart from programming, Harutyun also studies journalism at Shirak State University and manages a shoe store. He dreams of one day combining his journalism skills with those of IT.

“Harutyun is a very humble and hardworking young man. I know he has a job and he may do his homework late at night because of that. Yet, he never misses any classes and is always prepared. I am sure he will find his way in the IT-sphere very soon,” said Harutyun’s trainer Gayane Aslanyan.

The six-month training is free and targets young men who have completed their military service and who also aspire to work in IT. There are currently 14 students enrolled in the course.