Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Making code work

Coding is, apparently, the new Latin.  According to the headline of the BBC article, making code appear to be like the ancient language is a step toward making it accessible to the masses and is a good way to encourage the disengaged students of today to fizz with excitement.

The quote that coding is like Latin, stems from the author of the Next Gen report looking at the potential for the industry in the UK.  While the author's credentials certainly stack up, as does the portfolio stacked alongside it, I can't help but think that the tone of the report (over 88 pages) and indeed the article that talks to it, misses the point.

A blog posting isn't going to be much better mind.  However, the two cents from this direction would seem to point the need for evangelising of what the code actually does, by teachers and industry professionals who genuinely get-it.  This isn't the realm of the type of IT teacher I had.  The focus is way too strong on applications and relational databases.  And while that's great, as recent Googlers have pointed out, the UK is lagging behind international competition when it comes to teaching coding.

That's not to say that the state of the industry is in the UK is anything less than impressive, it isn't.  We have a formidable talent pool and some of the best dev folks in the world.  We should be pretty proud of this and really use their expertise to energise the next generation.  This is not like learning French.  You can't stand in front of a classroom and spout best practices; you need to motivate, stimulate and get inside of the students.  And encourage them to do the same with existing systems.  And then get cooking on their own.

Yes, there's a need for maths and physics and yes that attracts a certain type, but with a the energy of inspirational teachers it's possible to reach out to a wider group.

I'm no developer, but I've been lucky enough to work with some of the best in the world and the level of passion is infectious (and at times a little bit worrying!), but it's this passion and joy for what they do, that gets into students.  It's what needed to create truly compelling digital products.  I look forward to seeing what the UK can continue to contribute, but let's keep the enthusiasm for the subject front and centre and really encourage students to get off-piste with their work.  Carpe diem.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Getting Warrington Creating

Hi Careers Eventer!

Welcome to WAcreative
. We just wanted to give you a bit more info about what we do and who's involved.

Firstly, we're a free group based in Warrington setup to develop the creative industries in and around the town and to connect people. If you're interested in working in the creative space, chances are you'll need contacts and experience. This is a good opportunity to find both.

You can use this group in whatever way works for you
If you're just looking to keep on top of industry news and develop contacts, you're very welcome to come along. If you'd like to use the group as an opportunity to showcase (or practice showcasing) your work, you can do. If you'd rather just use the discussion boards to ask questions, go for it.

It's informal.

On a personal note, as a meetup user, I know what it's like going down to one of these things for the first time. WAcreative is about as informal as you can possibly get - so don't worry about not knowing anyone, or that it might not be for you... come along and say hi. It's a very informal bunch that attends and we also like to get sponsorship, so we try to put on a couple of free drinks too.

It's tough to get a break in the creative industries. We've been there and experienced it. Events like this show that you're doing more than just your course, you're engaging with industry. And, like most industries, it's always good to have contacts. Even better when they're more closely formed and formed during an informal event like this.

More info

For more, follow us @wa_creative or if you've got any questions, want to get involved etc, just use the group to get in touch.

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