‘Don’t have to be a whizz kid’: Adults get with the program for Manchester coding week

Forget geeky teenage boys in dark bedrooms – a week-long series of events has started yesterday with the aim of showing Mancunians that anyone can code.

Manchester’s digital community – including Barclays, MMU and SpacePortX – have got together with National Coding Week to organise free-to-attend sessions across the city with the aim of giving as many people as possible a taster of coding.

Open to complete beginners, the events will teach attendees how to write very basic computer code – and in the process possibly opening the door to a new career in the UK’s rapidly growing digital industries.

Tackling a lack of diversity in the digital community, events like Women in Tech have been set up to challenge the gender imbalance in the sector, while beginners sessions will open up new career prospects to anyone with an interest in learning.

Northern Quarter tech startup hub SpacePortX on Lever Street has arranged a number of practical sessions, including a talk by local developer group MCRFred, on the life of a freelance coder.

Speaking of the co-working venue’s excitement in representing Manchester’s digital community this week, local entrepreneur and all-round tech champion Vimla Appadoo said that it really is a career open to everyone.

“It’s our pleasure to announce that we’re supporting National Coding week in September!” she said.

“It’s a great way of getting adults into coding, and showcases how easy it is to learn and what you can accomplish.

“We want to showcase all the amazing things that learning to code can do, and that it’s totally accessible for everyone. You don’t need to be a super computer whizz kid to learn and we want to show that!”

Returning for the second time, National Coding Week – backed by the government and a number of coding organisations – has co-ordinated hundreds of sessions up and down the country in venues ranging from teashops to pottery workshops.

Richard Rolfe, co-founder of National Coding Week, learnt to code at 51 and is a pioneer for getting adults of any age into tech.

“I’m thrilled that Manchester’s digital community has pulled out all the stops for 2015!” he said.

“The key aims of National Coding Week are to encourage adults of any age to learn an element of computer coding, to encourage digital experts to share their skills, and to collaborate, share, learn and have fun!

The week’s free events include a beginners programming session on Raspberry Pi (Tuesday 22, 6-9pm, MMU), a coding group mentoring session (Wednesday 23, 7-9.30pm, Building Blocks) and an introduction into the life of a freelance coder (Thursday 24, 6.30pm, SpacePortX).

All other events are listed on the National Coding Week website.

Image courtesy of elidr, with thanks

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