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    BARC   GB0031348658


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Cracking the code to a programming career

10/27/2021 | 09:08am EST
"As long as you're willing to learn, they'll teach you"

Kevin recalls his first impressions of the then 12-year-old James, when he first started at Wavertree. "One of the main things that struck me was that he had a lot of the technical skills, but when he left, he was able to apply them to different situations," he says. "You could definitely tell that he came to learn, and we saw him get more involved with the group. There was real collaboration between him and the other attendees and you saw that grow and develop, so that they became like a real team when they were approaching some of the projects and problems they were trying to solve."

Code Playground introduced James to previously unexplored areas of tech, while access to hardware made higher-level projects more accessible. But James also says the opportunities to connect with others were key to his development: "I got to mix with different people, including those with more knowledge than me. In a group, you could solve problems. If it's just by yourself, it's much harder," he recalls.

Without Code Playground I would never have come this far and explored this industry in the way I have. I will forever be thankful for the opportunity.

James McCannon

Barclays Code Playground graduate

"Code Playground opened my eyes to the programming environment. It's not just sitting in the room by yourself at home, it's the collaborative approach of coming together as a team to build something, going away and programming some code, and then coming back and as a team to work on improving it at different stages."

In some ways, that methodology mirrors the genesis of Code Playground itself. Always adaptive, the scheme pivoted to being online-only during the pandemic, but Kevin is looking forward to a return of in-person sessions - and hearing more success stories from his graduates.

"We don't always see what people might do with the learning at Code Playground, and how they then take it on in their own lives or careers. Knowing that James is really using the coding and skills that he learned here - for me that's the biggest pride that can come out of the whole initiative. Just seeing people using the knowledge that we try to give is really rewarding. Instead of just being digital consumers they can be digital creators as well."

Kevin and James have each experienced the positive impact Code Playground can have on those who participate.

Encouraging this learning is crucial, he adds: "We set up Code Playground with a view of helping to close the national digital skills gap. We know that we're going to need people who've got coding skills and we know that across the entire workplace that these digital skills are going to be absolutely critical for children, who will be going into jobs that probably haven't even been invented yet."

For his part, James - who has developed particular expertise in cybersecurity - confesses to being "quite surprised by the way things are turning out". He says he's "been getting opportunities I didn't think I'd be getting, and also the confidence to strive for the next thing."

His message for young coders of the future? "If you want to join Code Playground, just give it a go. As long as you're willing to learn, they'll teach you."


Barclays plc published this content on 27 October 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 27 October 2021 13:07:10 UTC.

ę Publicnow 2021
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