Words by Amy Fowler
Posted 1 year ago

This year for National Coding Week we joined in with organisations around the country in offering adult beginners the opportunity to experience coding and expand their digital skills. This is the story of one of those beginners. Me.

The idea started with a goal to help participants feel more comfortable and confident with exploring the digital world; maybe as a first step on a journey into a digital business or career, or maybe just to experience something new. We are proud to be based here in Tottenham Hale and we wanted this session to open up our building and our expertise to others in our community as we believe everyone can benefit from digital skills.

As with anything Ada, we wanted to approach the course differently so we didn’t have our (brilliant) computer science teachers and apprenticeship lecturers run it. Instead our (also brilliant) sixth form students and digital apprentices took charge and facilitated an intro to Python session, using the excellent TuringLab Ada.Advance learning platform, for some intrepid participants from the area as well as a couple of Ada staff who wanted to improve our knowledge.

Time for me to admit that despite working at the National College for Digital Skills, my own coding skill is somewhat lacking. Some may say non-existent. I thought this would be a great chance to broaden my understanding of what our students learn day to day, and to give me some insight into what all of those lines of code I glimpse might actually be saying.

I knew it before, but now I’m even more sure - our students are incredible. They broke down the concepts, and each of us beginners was given one on one instruction and expert assistance when we needed help. There is a real satisfaction and even beauty in the logic and method behind what they do here that I don’t think I ever appreciated. I was impressed that my tutor, Software Developer apprentice Suraj, took on the methodology of our Ada lecturers; making sure that I understood the concepts and the crucial “why?” behind what I was doing. I don’t mean to brag, but at the end of the session I built a little house using Python and it felt like a real achievement!

I doubt I’ll quit my job and become a developer anytime soon, but I’ll continue working my way through the Ada Advance TuringLab platform where I can try others languages as well as Python and I can’t wait to take part in future sessions like this. Coding has always felt completely mystifying, but suddenly it’s feels like something I could actually do. Well done Ada and National Coding Week, the sky's the limit now!

Visit codingweek.org for more information on National Coding Week. 

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