Little Bridge welcomed students from Chiswick School to their London Studio for a special ‘Year of Code’ coding day, where these aspiring young coders were invited to experience a creative and technical development in a real commercial environment.
The challenge was to design a simple game, to learn the coding skills required to implement it, to commission the artwork – and to finish the day with a working prototype. Little Bridge’s top computer scientists, Neil Millstone and Eurico Moita, led the workshop.
“I think coding skills are going to become increasingly more important in the workplace. If programming skills were common, citizens would be able to understand more about how government works by analysing the data that they already release for free. People would be able to knock up a little code to help them in many different situations. If you could take a lot of the boring repetitive work you take for granted, and automate it, you can be free to do more interesting things,” said Millstone.
Apart from picking up new coding skills, the aspiring coders were exposed to a real commercial studio environment. For many of the students, this was the first time they had experienced a place of work, so Little Bridge’s apprentice developer, Jerome Clarke, gave a presentation on what it’s like to study computer science and to be practising code in a live studio environment.
“I can’t stress the importance of mixing real industry experience with study enough,” said Clarke.
“Working in a practical environment gives students a chance to put their studies into real world context and really accelerates their learning experience. Knowledge that they learn no longer becomes submissive because it is required for their role. It also gives them a chance to gain confidence and provides the student with an array of important skills, which just cannot be learnt outside a working environment.
“It can be the making of the student, the difference between achieving average grades or outstanding grades. It’s the difference between being a mediocre applicant or a standout candidate to employers.”
Vanja Milovanovic, eLearning Coordinator at Chiswick School, felt the Year 10 students particularly benefited from seeing a working environment. “They are looking towards the future, especially now they have started their GCSE’s. Seeing how the skills they learn today can be applied in the real world of work gives them a reason to want to learn these essential coding skills.”