We're always eager to encourage the next generation into our industry and Adrian recently attended Code Club in Manchester with his son Dilan. This is an event for 9 - 11 year olds, introducing coding concepts to children to enable them to build their knowledge.
Over to Adrian (and Dilan) to tell us more about the day.
This Easter, my son was kindly invited to attend the UKFast Code Club. How could I refuse? Especially as they have a giant slide between floors, bean bags everywhere and now some bunk beds so you can crash out if you need a catnap. It's certainly a cool, Google-like environment with quite an imposing stance as a building on the outskirts of Manchester. I always like to hear music when going into a venue, I think it helps to set the scene and UKFast didn't disappoint there, although it was on occasion overshadowed by someone coming flying down the slide at breakneck speed, especially when sat on a bean bag.
The event began by taking 17 kids aged between 9 and 11 into another bean bag filled room, where there were 4 smartly dressed UKFast t-shirt clad leaders for the session, all focused on supporting the kids. To be fair, I think it turned out to be a creche facility in some ways as I was the only parent that stayed!
So what happened son?
"It was really cool. I was so excited, as I really love computers and gaming. They taught us all about the bits of computers like what RAM is and motherboards and stuff like that, then we had a challenge to see if we could point them out on a real computer and server. Then we got to go on a computer and to go through different questions before I got the chance to start creating a Minecraft-based game of my own and learn some Java on another cool activity. It was really good, the teachers were really helpful and we could help each other as well."
So what did I think? I was really proud of what he achieved in such a short space of time. He's been around computers all his life (unlike me) and has loved playing games. It's a hard thing to balance though. There are times when he could just sit in front of a device without moving, so finding the balance is crucial. He knows we need to get out and exercise, but I am supportive of most of the games and tech that is around, even venturing to Minecon last year, where he got to meet and play Minecraft with the founder of the game, Jeb. Not exactly a rockstar, but he did have long hair.
Think about it – if we hold these guys back from exploring what can be achieved by computers, they will be left behind. I heard this week that the driving test now involves using a sat nav; the world is a different place from the days when the hardest thing I had to programme was the timer facility on the VHS recorder so Mum could catch Blankety Blank and I could watch the Dukes of Hazard.
The week after visiting Code Club, Dilan decided he wanted to build his own site, which I must say for first attempts I'm quite proud of – take a look here and let me know what you think!
Would I recommend Code Clubs for your kids? Totally, support them, it's the future.
Plus we need more great developers here at Blueleaf – a couple more years and I'll have him on our books.