Something that we can predict with almost certainty is that, at some point, coding will be the new degree – you will struggle to get jobs without it. More and more graduate vacancies aimed at physics graduates are requiring a proficiency in C++, Java, Python, etc. and the worrying part is that most physics undergraduate degrees do not include this as compulsory. Students that come to university already able to code are well ahead of the game whilst many of us went 2 years without needing to (or having a reason to practise this) to then be handed a final year project with programming skills at the very heart of operations!
The ICT curriculum is attempting to approach this but as with learning a language in school, class sizes and strained teachers leave the kids in the the class that exist as a minority in the “I want to learn” bracket neglected. Sometimes, it’s better to jump through the hoops of Key Stage 3 in class and get the learning in elsewhere.
Options exist: picking up books on coding, online courses such as CodeAcademy are fantastic, or events that accelerate learning in person. The latter approaches a problem that lots of Educational Technology can forget – the importance of social reinforcement. For kids that don’t want to do sports, this is an opportunity for a hobby that can turn into a professional career. The ability to design and write games is a hugely sought after skill and one that stimulates the young mind.
1. Fire Tech Camp
Fire Tech Camp currently offer 42 courses in Bristol, London, Manchester, Cambridge and Reading. Courses are £550 in London for 5 days of intensive training for teenagers older than 14.
2. Bermo Tech
This is a fantastic company that offers tons of courses for all ages and the ones suitable for minors are run by the founder herself, Narges Berry. Separate week long courses are available in the Summer for 6-8, 9-12 and 13-17 year olds, tailoring teaching to the appropriate age. iOs and Android app development courses exist as well as classes for the more flexible Java. Courses start at £350.
3. Tech Camp
With their camps, Tech Camp offers those near Hammersmith to select from 13 activities, including Laser Tag (where they programme the game themselves) and Rasperry Pi. Courses are run by teachers that are used to a classroom environment but also appreciate the relaxed setting of Tech Camp. Workshops begin at £250 for Mon-Fri.
With 11 locations, FunTech have scaled well offering 9 different classes including Lego Robotics, 3D Digital Modeling/Animation/Printing courses, Java Coder and Minecraft Mods, offering something that will interest pretty much anybody. They offer Summer camps as well as regular classroom courses. Prices start at £495.
Most locations suit Londoners but it can be expected that courses for kids will diffuse throughout, offering places a bit further North the same opportunities to compete with the best. It’s an exciting time and it will be interesting to see who becomes the Rosetta Stone of computing for kids.