A summer spent teaching code – Lucia Gore

Continuous learning has been a core value of ECS since the beginning. We believe in giving our consultants the time they need to upskill on current and emerging technologies, as well as familiarising themselves with the legacy technologies that still operate within IT ecosystems. Our vast number of emerging talent initiatives help extend the same invitation to budding tech enthusiasts who are keen to learn on the job.

We also have colleagues that go above and beyond, volunteering time to help students outside of ECS take their first steps into the world of technology. Lucia Gore is one such individual. A full stack developer for ECS, Lucia has worked in various teams as a delivery consultant. Over her summer months this year, Lucia helped tutor students keen to learn some basic coding skills. Here is her experience.

“In the last two weeks of August I was involved at Kozi, a residential course that provides a starting block for students who have not previously studied computer science but want to get an insight into the tech industry and learn to code. It was a thoroughly rewarding experience and I was so inspired by the levels of enthusiasm of the students and the positivity of the course as a whole.

Students were aged 18-23 and ranged from school leavers to university leavers – none of whom had studied computer science at a higher level than A Level, or practiced JavaScript before. The idea of the course was to inspire those who had previously no technical knowledge, to consider a career in technology – in any capacity. Since it was just a starter course, students would need to move onto a more intensive course or internship once complete, to progress to a level at which they could become junior developers.

I personally learnt to code at Makers Academy in London, which was fantastic, but a huge commitment both financially and in the length of time I had to commit to the process of learning. A 4-month bootcamp, with no prior professional experience in tech, is hard for many people to justify. This 5-day beginners’ course on the other hand, whilst intensive, felt like a middle ground for many students who may be intimidated by the idea of a full-time course. It is about 1/10 of the price of a regular bootcamp and therefore much more manageable from a financial perspective.

With only 10 per intake, the atmosphere is intimate and laid back, and the pace of learning is fast (6 hours of lessons a day) but given the small classes and hands on approach, nobody was out of their depth. It definitely would have been something I would have wanted to do before I started at Makers, hence why I was very keen to be involved when it was put to me to help out with the lessons!

Over the week, students learnt the basics of JavaScript, HTML and CSS. I was not the head coach but assisted the teaching and the hosting, and if anyone was finding things hard to grasp, or needed extra attention, I was able to give them a hand. By the end of the week, students were able to create a simple website with basic functionality, which they had fully styled. They had started out having never seen a page of code, and by the end could read JavaScript well, understood loops, functions, if else statements, and all of the tags and styling to go with it. There were several poker games created, a few quiz websites, and a handful of blogs. The satisfaction and pride that was evident from the students was brilliant to see and the pastoral aspects of the course definitely added to the experience too.

Since the course was residential, the students stayed onsite, and each evening there were lovely home cooked dinners, card games, movie nights, tennis matches. It felt like they were on a learning holiday – a great way to get their brains back in gear before heading back to university, and a wonderful time for them to make new friends and learn a new skill in such a friendly and safe environment. Many of them are interested in internships and apprenticeships and would now be in a great place to apply for these, confident in their new skills. An added bonus was the fact that on the second week, it was all girls. I loved being part of their first step towards a career in tech, whether as a developer or whether they would just use the skills they’ve learnt to better their chances in applying for a different role, it was hugely inspiring and great fun too.

Being small scale, and largely local to the area in which I grew up in, the course does not really advertise much outside of the local area, but I’m sure that if any clients/colleagues know of enthusiastic 18-23 year olds who might like to be involved in future courses then I would be delighted to put them in touch with the organisers who can take it from there.”

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