Tech firms in Kerry embrace the Zen of Coder Dojo
Teen entrepreneur James Whelton's Coder Dojo was a reaction to the lack of a formal programming curriculum in Irish schools

Tech firms in Kerry embrace the Zen of Coder Dojo

10 Oct 201114 Shares

Just a few months in and while technology companies like Google have already given time and space to Bill Liao and James Whelton’s Coder Dojo initiative to get Irish kids programming, resident firms at Kerry Technology Park in Tralee and the local Institute of Technology are taking it to a whole new level.

The not-for-profit Coder Dojo is intended to become a national movement where at weekends kids and basically anyone who wants to learn or teach how to code can drop in.

Shannon Development’s Kerry Technology Park, Tralee, is the latest venue for Coder Dojo. The camp kicked off at the weekend and will initially run until Christmas.

Lecturers and students from the Institute of Technology Tralee, companies based in Kerry Technology Park and staff from Shannon Development, have enthusiastically embraced Coder Dojo and volunteered their time and skills to provide free tuition and support to the project over the coming months.

Coder Dojos could nurture future IT entrepreneurs

“This initiative has the potential to have a significant impact on the prospects and career choices of participants,” said Marie Lynch, development manager at Kerry Technology Park.

“With the reported skills shortages in the IT sector we believe that this kind of initiative is very timely as it will nurture future IT entrepreneurs. Coder Dojo is an entrepreneur-led initiative that requires the support of the business community and organisations to succeed.”

The Coder Dojo project is the brainchild of 18-year-old technology entrepreneur James Whelton from Cork and entrepreneur Bill Liao. Coder Dojo provides an environment where interested young people can meet like-minded peers, learn new skills, participate in various activities and learn about all areas of IT.

It covers a flexible syllabus of various areas of computer programming, web development and mobile development, as well as graphic design and media – in a fun and engaging way. As it grows, Coder Dojo will also provide competitions and events to recognise talent and allow participants to meet and see developers in action.

Kerry Technology Park companies providing volunteer staff to the support the initiative include Aspen Grove, Altobridge, Continuum Commerce Solutions, Neotech Software Solutions Ltd, You Comply Ltd and PulseLearning Ltd, along with the Institute of Technology Tralee. Annadale Technologies based in Killorglin, Co Kerry, has also volunteered to assist the programme.

Commenting on the importance of the project, Sean Ryan, CEO, Aspen Grove, said: "The short-term objective is to teach coding skills, and generate interest and enthusiasm for software development and media technologies among young people from the age of seven upwards. The longer-term vision is to create a new generation of technology entrepreneurs and developers. We are delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to working with those who participate."

Coder Dojos are already up and running in Cork, Dublin and Limerick. This initiative won James Whelton ‘Best Rookie’ at the 2011 Irish Internet Association Net Visionary Awards last week.

A second Coder Dojo camp is planned after Christmas. Further details, please contact Sean Ryan, Aspen Grove, Kerry Technology Park, Tralee. Tel: 066-7107100, or email: sean.ryan@aspengroveinc.com.

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist. He joined Silicon Republic in 2002 to become the fulcrum of the company’s news service He was recipient of the Irish Internet Association’s NetVisionary Technology Journalist Award 2005 and Siliconrepublic.com has been awarded ‘Best Technology Site’ at the Irish Web Awards seven times. In 2011 he received the David Manley Award commending him for his dedication to covering entrepreneurs. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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