Last Monday my colleague Mike Andrewartha and I helped out at a Gather workshop run by web developer and lead tutor Tanya Gray. Gather workshops aim to bring programming education to the masses, and they do it with the help of volunteers like Mike and myself.
Mentoring is an open source approach to education, and in my opinion is hugely important. It’s also a big part of the culture here at SilverStripe. We’ve realised that when we share what we’ve learned everyone wins, even if it’s outside of the company. It’s no surprise that Mike and I put ourselves forward to help out.
The Gather workshop itself was a great experience. Our students numbered about 30, all young adults. Most of them had never written a line of code before, but by the end of the day we could clearly see how pleased they were with what they’d learned. By the time we left they all had websites online, with topics ranging from their favourite Pokemon to football clubs. I’m quite sure that many of them will continue to write code in the future, and that’s just awesome.
It’s great to see these initiatives appearing. Not only can the industry do with more fantastic developers, but it visibly empowers young adults, and they’re often the ones that need empowerment most of all.
Above all though I was struck by how diverse the class was. The girls and boys were a 50/50 split, and there were students from every race and creed. I can only hope that this is what the industry looks like in 10 years time.