It’s that time of year again – National Coding Week is back for its eighth year. It kicked off on Monday, 13th September and will run all the way through to this Sunday, 19th September.
If this is your first, allow us to explain… For one week, libraries, businesses, schools and tech hubs are inviting people of all ages (including kids) and backgrounds (including complete beginners) to improve their digital prowess and skills. They’re backed up by a variety of individuals and organisations providing sessions to introduce more prospects to the world of coding and programming. Founded by former headteacher Richard Rolfe and tech entrepreneur Jordan Love, it has inspired and supported many people in finding their career in software engineering and development, even helping unemployed individuals get jobs in the tech world. And now, Coding Week is more than just National – countries across the EU, states in the U.S. and Australia run their own events, too.
The fact is that there is a huge shortage of developers in the software industry. If you’re a company looking for candidates, you’ll know this better than anyone. If you’re a candidate looking for a company, you’ll have noticed your skills are in high demand.
It means that, at all levels and ages, these skills are valuable. Nurturing them is essential.
In this blog post, let’s take a look at how, no matter your age or background, it’s an opportunity to learn a valuable new skill – and just how you might get started.
Coding at any age
For children being taught in school, there are plenty of opportunities to learn – like coding games such as CodeCombat or CodeMonkey. If you have a child of your own that you are keen to inspire, consider picking up a raspberry pi – an excellent personal computer for computing education.
Of course, it’s important to aid people with experience in the workplace already – those who might be considering changing their career to adapt to demand. There are equally useful tools for adults learning to code – including Codecademy and Makers Academy. Any one of these tools is sure to improve you or your child’s interest in development and provide a foundation for learning.
Diversity and inclusion in programming
It’s equally important to bring in people from different backgrounds, those who might not have been well-represented in this industry.
The fact is that computer programming was predominantly done by women in the early 20th century. Women contributed massively to the industry. Notably, Grace Hopper of the U.S. Navy broke barriers for women with her role as a computer scientist – pioneering computer programming by inventing one of the first linkers. Additionally, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson (you might have seen their story in the movie Hidden Figures) provided ground-breaking work with NASA to develop the space program.
As time went on, however, certain practices and technology evolved. The role of female programmers changed and, following the 1960s, the programming world that had been dominated by women turned into modern software. Somehow, the importance of women in this space decreased.
The drop in female involvement in computer programming in the late 20th century onward has been examined but no conclusion has been reached. Regardless, women continue to make a significant impact on the software industry. Code First Girls, for example, has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK – enabling more women to learn new skills and inspiring them to pursue careers in tech.
Coding courses and activities
You’ve seen some of our recommendations, especially those geared to children and women, but there are plenty more resources for anybody interested in learning to code. Below, we’ve gathered a few of our recommendations – including great free resources that are accessible online and some paid courses provided both on-site and remotely.
Makers Academy is a 12-week computer programming bootcamp in London. It was founded by Rob Johnson and Evgeny Shadchnev in December 2012 and is designed to turn career switchers with some prior knowledge of programming into job-ready junior developers in just 12 weeks.
General Assembly is a private, for-profit education organisation founded by CEO Jake Schwartz, Adam Pritzker, Matthew Brimer and Brad Hargreaves in early 2011. You’ll find campuses in numerous countries around the world – all of them dedicated to teaching entrepreneurs and business professionals practical technology skills.
Coursera is an American massive open online course provider founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, certifications, and degrees in a variety of subjects.
Are you a coder? Which tools are your favourites – which would you recommend this National Coding Week? Or are you just getting started with your tech education? Share your experiences with us – we’d love to hear them.