By Jonathan Davies
National Coding Week, the UK-wide week-long series of events encouraging adults with no experience to try their hand at writing computer code, will return for its second year in 2015.
Its organisers are calling on people in the technology industry and beyond to get involved and help prove that anyone, regardless of age or gender, can learn to code.
National Coding Week 2015, which takes place from September 21-27, will see adults from across the UK join local free-to-attend training sessions where they’ll be taught the basics of coding alongside other beginners with little or no previous knowledge.
The announcement was made today at the international Future of Web Design conference being held in London.
Recent research has shown that nearly half of all SMEs across the UK are struggling to recruit the right IT staff, while the EU predicts a skills shortage in the digital sector of up to 1.3 million jobs by 2020. For those looking for a complete vocational change, or just a helping hand onto the career ladder, National Coding Week is an opportunity for everyone to give coding a chance.
Events, which will take place throughout the week across universities, tea rooms and even a pottery studio, will see major cities like London, Bristol and Manchester, as well as more remote corners of the UK such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, transformed into coding classrooms.
But it’s not just about those wanting to learn — National Coding Week’s ‘crowd sourced’ approach to sharing knowledge means computer programmers, developers and digital professionals are all being encouraged to get involved to host their own events.
National Coding week was founded by former head teacher Richard Rolfe and young entrepreneur Jordan Love in 2014. The pair work with unemployed people, teaching them to code and helping them to secure work in the digital sector.
Mr Rolfe said: “Thanks to the support we received last year, from those working in the tech industry to media and government representatives, we know that National Coding Week 2015 will be even bigger and better this time around.
“Our aim is simple: to prove that anyone, regardless of age and background can learn to write computer code.
“Our ultimate goal is to get as many people as possible who work in the UK tech and digital industries to pass some of their knowledge onto others and help to bridge the skills gap. It also means we’re doing something brilliant for those individuals who never dreamt they could learn to code, as well as having a hugely positive effect both on the economy and on the UK as a digital powerhouse.”
At her recent Richard Dimbleby lecture, internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox highlighted the gender imbalance in the UK tech sector. Professor Stephen Heppell said: “In a world where many will live beyond 100, and where newly emerging problems abound, a lifetime passion for learning has never been more important.
“Our lives in this extraordinary and fresh millennium are already transformed by technology, but if everyone on the planet is to gain from the potential advances on offer we need a universal digital literacy — we need algorithmic thought, we need to code. This is a task for all of us — the world needs our collective digital ingenuity. I am delighted to offer my support for National Coding Week.”