CoderDojo and Hays to recruit 1,000 new mentors and 100 firms
(From left) John Connelly with Susan Hogan, business manager, Hays IT; Sophie Mulcahy-Symmons, Misha McEnaney and Saoirse Sheehy-Ariff. Photo by Jason Clarke Photography

CoderDojo and Hays to recruit 1,000 new mentors and 100 firms

24 Sep 2012

Free coding movement CoderDojo, which from a humble start in Cork more than a year ago now teaches thousands of kids to code every week around the world, has joined forces with Hays to find 1,000 new mentors and 100 companies to provide facilities for dojos.

Just over a year ago, teenage coder James Whelton and entrepreneur and investor Bill Liao co-founded CoderDojo with the intention of providing an outlet for kids to learn how to write software. The success of the movement resulted in Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, hosting a CoderDojo at Leinster House in July.

There are now 104 Dojos happening every Saturday afternoon (41 in Ireland) in cities from Dublin to Florence, and Tokyo, LA, New York, London and Chicago. New ones are sprouting up in Jamaica and Africa. On any given Saturday, an average of 6,000 kids between the ages of seven and 17 in Ireland and around the world are teaching each other how to write code.

Hays will be hosting two events on 28 and 29 September in the Science Gallery, Dublin, to demonstrate why people should get involved with CoderDojo. On 28 September, companies from across Ireland are invited to learn about hosting a dojo on their premises and on 29 September, IT engineers are asked to come and learn about becoming a mentor and other volunteers are also welcome.

Liao and Whelton will be attending both days of the 100 Dojos, 1,000 Mentors event. They will be supported by IBM and McAfee, which will reveal why it is hooked to the CoderDojo movement. Norah Casey, publishing entrepreneur and of TV’s Dragons’ Den, will also talk about her own kids’ experience at a dojo.

Plugging future skills gaps

“CoderDojo is such a positive news story for Ireland,” Maureen Lynch, director of Hays in Ireland, explained.

“We know as well as anyone how difficult it is to source talented developers and this is a really innovative way to hopefully plug that gap in the future. But more importantly, the dojos themselves are a really cool environment that everyone involved seems to enjoy. I take my daughter every Saturday and she loves it.”

At the dojos, kids are learning everything from JavaScript to the latest cutting-edge software language Node.js. Some of the success stories to emerge have also been awe-inspiring, such as Harry Moran, who at the age of 12 became the world’s youngest Mac app developer with his game PizzaBot, which surpassed Angry Birds and Call of Duty in the charts in December, as well as 12-year-old Jordan Casey, who also became one of the world’s youngest iOS app developers with his game Alien Ball Vs Humans. During the summer, Casey took to the stage at Cannes Lions to tell his story to an awed crowd of global media professionals.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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