5 young coders to watch as CoderDojo celebrates 4th birthday

24 Jul 2015

CoderDojo was started by James Whelton and Bill Liao back in 2011 and the foundation has just celebrated its fourth birthday.

CoderDojo is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people.

At Dojos, kids from seven to 17 learn informally about coding, development and technology.

Since its launch, CoderDojo has grown exponentially. There are now 750 volunteer-led clubs, operating in 59 different countries around the world.

‘Happy birthday’ tweets came pouring in from Dojos and well-wishers around the world.

In honour of the occasion, we’ve put together a list of CoderDojo ninjas to follow on Twitter:


Lauren Boyle, CoderDojo DCU (@laurenboyletech)

You’d be forgiven for thinking Lauren Boyle is just starting out considering she’s only 10.

However, Boyle has a number of high-profile achievements under her belt, including her appointment as EU Digital Girl of the Year 2014.

By the age of 9, Boyle had already developed three websites and was launching into a career advocating for girls in STEM.

She is the founder of Cool Kids Studio, which encompasses those three websites and her recently launched app and website, Cool STEAM Kids.

She is a member and mentor at CoderDojo DCU.

Boyle’s Twitter is more sophisticated than many belonging to those twice her age and – in addition to the almost prerequisite tech news updates – charts the young superstar’s increasing involvement in Ireland’s tech scene.


Harry McCann, CoderDojo Clane (@TheHarryMcC)

At 16, Harry McCann has already done an awful lot. Just last year, he founded his first company, Kid Tech.

Kid Tech provides courses and workshops in web design, computer game development and design, and coding.

McCann is also founder and director of the Irish Digital Youth Council (DYC) – the first digital youth council in Europe. He founded the DYC to help give young people in Ireland a voice in STEM.

This year saw him take on the role of TY Ireland Ambassador. He is also an ambassador for The AAT Project (America’s Amazing Teens), a competition designed to identify, mentor and manage STEM students with innovative ideas.

He has been involved with CoderDojo as a member and mentor since the age of 13.

On Twitter, follow McCann on his journey through the tech industry, sharing DYC news, and throwing in some pop culture references for good measure. All interspersed with a smattering of humour, of course. 


Catrina Carrigan, CoderDojo DCU and CoderDojoGirls (@CNiCharragain)

Catrina Carrigan joined CoderDojo DCU in 2012, meaning she has been involved with the movement almost since the beginning. She is now a mentor for CoderDojoGirls.

Carrigan took part in the very first Coolest Projects, the annual event celebrating the innovations of CoderDojo ninjas.

The project she created for the inaugural Coolest Projects – an app called Piano Rock Star – was subsequently chosen by UK educators as a tool to help other teenagers learn how to code. It was developed by Intel and CoderDojo and is now a GCSE short course.

She went on to work on a business continuity app for hospitals and a social network for studying.

Carrigan has just finished secondary school and is awaiting her Leaving Cert results.

Her Twitter is a wonderful mix of geeky humour, and science and tech news.


James Whelton, CoderDojo Founder (@Whelton)

Of course, we couldn’t craft a list of young CoderDojo ninjas without including its founder.

James Whelton started CoderDojo back in 2011 shortly after finishing the Leaving Cert, when he was just 18 years old.

In the words of Siliconrepublic.com’s John Kennedy, he was already ‘a bit world famous’ after hacking the iPod Nano the year before.

His coding prowess revealed itself even earlier when, at the age of 14, he wrote a software app to allow doctors in the US to quickly view a brain scan. That software effectively saved the life of a young neighbour.

At the ripe old age of 22, Whelton has handed off the day-to-day operation of CoderDojo to CEO Mary Moloney. He is now based in Dubai, where he is involved with the emerging start-up scene. He still codes regularly.

Follow Whelton’s Twitter feed for light-hearted comment on tech developments and the internet.


Niamh Scanlon, CoderDojo DCU and CoderDojoGirls

Although Niamh Scanlon isn’t on Twitter, she deserves an honourable mention here.

The 12-year-old CoderDojo superstar has been attending CoderDojo DCU since she was 9, and now mentors at CoderDojoGirls.

With reCharge my eCar, Scanlon won the App category at CoderDojo’s Coolest Projects 2014. The app shows the locations of Ireland’s public charging points for electric cars, and indicates whether someone is currently using each one.

She spoke about reCharge my eCar at WebSummit 2014 – an experience that would surely have been daunting even to someone much older, but Scanlon took it in stride.

We anticipate great things from her over the coming years.

Main image, via Shutterstock

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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