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8 January, 2015 - 11:06 By News Desk

Cambridge Coding Academy going global

Cambridge Coding Academy co founder Raoul-Gabriel Urma

A Cambridge coding initiative is set to be the UK technology cluster’s latest export success.

The Cambridge Coding Academy, first reported in Business Weekly last September, reveals that it is discussing international workshops with organisations in Singapore, Greece and Finland and hopes to push the venture even further around the globe.

An Accelerate Cambridge startup out of Judge Business School and launched by PhD students and research associates from the University of Cambridge, CCA provides workshops where participants can learn how to program by building a game. They have now added an app-building module to the programme.

The venture is currently self-funded. CCA is also supported by companies who have sponsored the initiative.

The number of workshops in Cambridge has burgeoned and co-founder Raoul-Gabriel Urma says a UK rollout is underway.

“The plan is very much to go global,” he says. “Computer devices control peoples’ lives everywhere in the world so we believe coding is a skill that everyone should learn.

“We intend to expand nationally by the end of the year with workshops planned in London this spring, for example –and we have already received interest from individuals and organisations in other countries like Greece, Finland and Singapore wishing to help us expand beyond the UK. 

“At the same time, we are exploring strategic partnerships with other educational organisations to help achieve our international mission.”

As Business Weekly reported in September, the workshops are designed to help hundreds of coding kids hack their way to engineering roles in a brave new technology world – empowering the young generation to turn their creative ideas into reality through coding. 

The hands-on, one-day coding workshops enable participants to learn how to create a web game using industry-relevant technologies and practices. These workshops are taught by Cambridge students and graduates to inspire the young talent.

CCA launched the venture last September through Business Weekly with an appeal for funding from local companies. More would be welcome and Urma says tech businesses in the cluster will ultimately reap the dividends.

“Cambridge companies can get so much from backing this initiative,” he said. “Companies can make a great social contribution to the Cambridge ecosystem by inspiring the young talents that are clearly out there.  

“At the same time they will be able to promote their brand as an engaging employer to work for and build strong relationships with undergraduate and PhD students at the University of Cambridge who will be involved with the teaching and learning.”

The Academy has been supported not just through the Accelerate programme but also by the university’s  Computer Laboratory, Careers Service, the Judge Business School generally and the Royal Society of Arts.

Urma said: “Combined, our team has collaborated with some of the most prestigious companies including Google, ARM, Goldman Sachs, Telefonica, Oracle, eBay and CERN as well as obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from the best universities in England including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, UCL and Nottingham.”

He said the workshops to date had proved highly popular with young women, with a female to male ratio of around 40:60.

“The team believes that the engaging workshops and the inclusive environment is part of the solution for getting more young women attracted to technological subjects,” said Urma.

He said demand has been high with courses selling out within hours and participants travelling to Cambridge from London and Surrey.

“We are now moving full steam ahead, with 20 workshops already scheduled for January and February to meet demand. Students can opt for the original build a game workshop and, new for 2015, learn how to build a web app. 

“Workshops on interactive data visualisation are meeting demand from fledgling coders who want to move to the next level. All workshops are not only highly enjoyable, but also teach industry-relevant skills – working with modern programming languages, libraries and software development and collaboration techniques. 

“To support the workshops, we have started to grow our team of tutors and student ambassadors – all

amazingly talented and enthusiastic students who want to help with the mission.”

• To get involved, visit http://cambridgecoding.com

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