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Tapping into potential through code

How a one-week coding course helped Jonathan Channing turn his life around and tackle autism

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | September 23, 2016 | People

Feeling out of place and not fitting in when you are young can be the beginning of a downward spiral that can be very hard to escape. Even with the support of family and friends, it can often be tricky for some youngsters to channel their energies and un-tap their full potential.

Luckily, for 20-year-old Jonathan Channing, a local coding course was in the right place at the right time. Jonathan talks us through his journey from uninspired teen to coding entrepreneur...

Schools out

Unfortunately school just didn’t work for Jonathan. Seen as disruptive, Jonathan was often in trouble with teachers and admits that he was “glad to leave it all behind.” “School didn’t stimulate me.  I didn’t engage with the generic curriculum,” he says, adding: “It left me wondering how flawed the very foundation of the education system must have been.”

Queue to nowhere

When Jonathan left school and found himself unemployed for 3 years, without a focus he occupied himself with computer games and TV as a form of distraction. Jonathan would also lock himself away for days and despite strong family support, now says that he was aware of “sinking into a deep depression”. “My family were supportive but did not understand me, as I did not understand myself at the time” Jonathan explains, “but it was a very difficult time for me. I felt like I was drifting through life, devoid of a real purpose.” 

The game changer

Fortunately, Jonathan eventually finally found something that excited and fascinated him – through a one week coding course, which changed his professional and personal life; “I have always been curious about coding but didn’t have any knowledge or experience. I was looking for something to do online and found a one week course. From the moment I learned the first tag of html I was utterly consumed. Coding became an outlet for me.”

Jonathan developed his coding skills so quickly that he’s gone from learning the languages of HTML and CSS, to becoming a whiz at Word Press, and has now set up his own business, Cobra Coding.

Autism = opportunity

In his first year of this new career, Jonathan also found out that he had Autism. Far from seeing the diagnoses as a problem, however, it helped Jonathan to get a clearer understanding of the feelings he had in the past and in the present. Jonathan sees Autism as a benefit not a hindrance as an entrepreneur, saying “I always knew I was unconventional in thought and execution. I see Autism as an advantage in my future career — seeing the world from a different perspective and thinking differently has advantages!” 

National Coding week

Coding has helped Jonathan to nurture new skills, confidence and a livelihood, so he is keen to help others in the same way. As a National Coding Week Ambassador Jonathan has organised events with the digital community in his area. Jonathan has appreciated the open and interactive nature of National Coding Week; “I really enjoy meeting people now and I am becoming much more confident when dealing with business leaders, journalists and members of the public. I was recently interviewed on the radio and I found myself really enjoying the experience.”

Get involved

As Jonathan’s story shows, you don’t need any previous experience and qualifications to give coding a go, and National Coding Week provides the perfect opportunity, with free events being held up and down the country. Those wishing to take part in this year’s

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