Celebrating National Coding Week 2021
What is codebar?
codebar’s aim is to break down the barriers of entry to the digital world by making technology more accessible. Technology is expensive and access to it is limited, which in turn causes a societal ‘digital divide’, we often talk about. Even with access to tech, the complexity of interacting with it prevents most people being able to actively engage with it and adapt it to their needs. codebar’s desire is connect technology experts (‘mentors’) with novices (‘students’) to share knowledge and enable more people to take ownership of technologies, such as the world wide web and smart phones.
“Our goal is to enable minority group members to learn programming in a safe and collaborative environment and expand their career opportunities. To achieve this we run free regular workshops, regular one-off events and try to create opportunities for our students making technology and coding more accessible.”
What is your involvement with the charity?
I first learned about codebar through a former colleague of mine who invited me to come along to one of their coaching events with the aim to introduce people to programming and the web. It turned out to be a great experience! We were warmly greeted, and the event had a very supportive ‘vibe’ about it. We shared our knowledge of the internet, programming, and how to build websites with the anyone who was interested in being creative with technology.
As well as the programming workshops, codebar also provides a space to talk about careers in technology, which allows students to get a better idea of whether this would be a path they would like to take in the future. Following the first event, I continued to mentor at codebar, both in Edinburgh as well as online when the Covid-19 Lockdown prevented us to meet in person.
I am always open for mentoring and supporting people who want to know more about programming or how to work as a web developer.
Why is mentoring important to you?
It turns out that after working as a professional software developer for a few years, you accumulate a lot of knowledge about how technology and the digital world work! I interact with technology every day, so there are a lot of things I don’t even think about anymore because they just seem natural to me. However, that makes me part of a small and very privileged group of individuals who grew up having ready access to the internet and a computer to learn from, which in turn gave me the opportunity to get a well-paid job using this knowledge.
We need to remember that not everyone has access to technology. In the UK alone there are over five million people without access to the internet. Even those people that do have access have completely different experiences regarding how they use it. Some voices are discriminated and censored, while others are amplified out of proportion. Technology is great at solving many issues, but it also creates multiple divides in our society. We need to better understand the effects technology has on our society so that we can be held accountable for developing tech for wider societal benefits. This makes education and sharing of knowledge around technology extremely important!
It is very essential that we collectively empower people to be active participants in the digital world. To be creative with technology. Not to be satisfied with limiting their vision of the internet to Facebook posts and Twitter tweets, but to think how we can make technology work for us all, and in turn contribute to a fairer society.
Do you have any advice for budding coders this National Coding Week?
Give back to the community! There are fewer experienced software developers than there are novices, so no matter how long you have been programming, you will already know something someone else does not. Share your knowledge and mentor someone!
Interested in finding out more about codebar and their mentorship programme? Head to their website for more information.