National Coding Week was launched in 2014 from a double-decker bus, like all great things should be. It was founded by Richard Rolfe, who encountered a challenging change in his life when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 49. He stepped away from his role as a headteacher and embarked on a new career in coding. During this transition, it became clear to Richard that if you are an adult and want to try a new career in digital, it can be hard to take the first steps.
Richard partnered with Jonathan Channing, who left school with little in the way of qualifications, and was diagnosed with autism. Unperturbed, Jonathan threw himself headfirst into a coding course, which only fuelled his hunger to learn more. Now, he runs his own successful web design business and volunteers his time as Head of Strategy for National Coding Week.
There's a digital skills gap in our economy, and that's easy to forget when you're surrounded by likeminded digital professionals. However, the stats show a clear shortfall in students who are studying towards digital skills, particularly computing. Our education system needs to see a vast improvement in providing these skills to students, but what can businesses like Kyan do to encourage hopefuls young and matured to start a career in coding? A great first step is for us to act as a voice of encouragement, and use our platforms as a place to inspire and instil confidence. For #nationalcodingweek we profiled five of our developers and asked them what they love about coding. We posted their answers on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and you can see them throughout this post.
We also understand that it can be a particularly intimidating industry to enter. It simply shouldn't be that way, and through events such as our Web Meet Guildford, we try to create an open and informal place where people from all over the digital community can come together, and that certainly includes graduates or even those considering a change in career. If you haven't come along to WMG yet and are looking to talk to a friendly bunch of developers, designers and suchlike, then we'd love to have you. And it's completely free.
Finally, inspiring individuals like Erica are volunteering their time at local code schools. These are volunteer organisations often setup by local councils as a place for young people to learn the basics of coding and improve on their skills every week. This great work has earned Erica a place in the Wirehive 100 Awards finals as a 'Rising Star'. You can read more about Erica's work here, and you can learn more about Code Club Guildford right here.
So if you're considering a career in development or coding, we 100% encourage you to do so — it's an exciting and fast-paced industry for people from all walks of life to put their stamp on some truly inspiring projects large and small. And it's a career for life — there are so many different programming languages and disciplines, which means you can often branch out into other areas of development should you wish to do so. Find out more about National Coding Week here, and what you can do to take part in 2019.
"This gap is rooted in education – only 7,600 students in England took computing at A-level in 2017, less than 10 per cent of whom were female. Adult education and retraining will help to address this imbalance, but the only long-term, sustainable solution to this country’s digital skills problem will be found in schools."
— Yogesh Chauhann, New Statesman, January 2018
Check out this piece from our Developer Steve Butler, "My journey from breaking things to making them."