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Calderdale Needs Coders

12th December 2013 <b>Calderdale</b> Needs Coders

Calderdale College IT & Computing Lecturer, Paul Christian Waterworth is calling for more young people in Calderdale to get into coding and computer science to help transform the industry. Computer science is a huge industry that is going to continue to grow and consists of a multitude of areas from the design and programming of computers to developing applications. Over the next ten years there are going to be thousands of new jobs across the UK and hundreds of jobs across Calderdale and West Yorkshire and according to Paul, there won’t be enough graduates to fill those positions.

Paul C Waterworth, IT & Computing Lecturer is looking to transform Halifax into a place to study and work in the IT & computer science industry. “IT Jobs in Calderdale and across the UK in the industry are going to become more prominent over the next ten years and yet there is going to be a real shortage of men and women in the industry, in particular women. E-Skills UK reported last year that there are 7000 new computing jobs a year, but only 1500 computing graduates a year in the UK. Both the College and I would like to encourage more young people in primary and secondary school to start thinking of computer science and coding as a potential career path as they go through further education."

“There are a vast amount of new and exciting areas of computing including web development, programming, flash, animation, application development, games programming and it doesn’t matter what you do – you will be coding at some point in your life!” Paul continues.

Celebrities including Will.I.am from the Black-eyed Peas are currently taking coding classes and believes coders are the next big thing, calling them the ‘new rock stars’. Other famous individuals who work in the industry include Facebook’ s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg who at 13 years old had already created a basic computer network, Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which began as a research project whilst they we studying their PHD and Marissa Mayer, who is the CEO of one of biggest search engines in the world – Yahoo.

The Draft Business and Economy Strategy, released by Calderdale Council in October 2013 states that they are looking for more people to work in the IT and creative industries such as programming, application development, graphics design, animation , web design and AutoCAD. The College is training people to succeed in these industries and will be setting up a Calderdale Computer Science Association (CCSA) for local businesses, other educational establishments and anyone who is interested in working in the industry and would like to grow Calderdale’s computer science industry. The association in conjunction with the College will be hosting an hour of code for anyone interested in having a go at basic coding and will be arranging events in the New Year.

According to Paul, the biggest industry at the moment is application development – developing apps for phones and computers. But there are many more opportunities in computing emerging every year. Every large company requires IT specialists, Facebook for example has thousands of engineers around the world and companies such as Google have offices in every major capital city and it is the same for companies such as Apple and Microsoft who have bases for Computing Engineers around the world to develop products including software applications, websites, graphics and animations.

The College are constantly looking at emerging job markets and tailor their courses to suit the job climate. Paul believes the next new industry to emerge will be green IT and computing: “ICT Sustainability, as it is also known, focuses on making energy-efficient computing systems and is one of the things we are teaching more of. Green IT Consultancies are fast becoming a new industry where specialists visit businesses to determine how to make their computer systems more energy-efficient and save them millions of pounds a year.”

This week is Computer Science Week (9-15th December 2013) and to raise awareness Code.org, an online resource which allows students and the general public to learn how to code through their internet browser, has been set up to introduce computer science to everyone. Paul highlights what’s involved: “It begins with very basic code using a tool called blockly which uses blocks with code which you connect together like building blocks. Then you learn how to use ‘if statements’ to enable you to move around obstacles and solve complex scenarios within seconds and make your own interactive Christmas Card, programming the characters to move around and all the software which you might use scratch, things to edit java script and c sharp and other programmes languages are all available in the browser and can be downloaded from any computer for free.

For many of our students their first taste of coding is when they arrive at College which is fine, but we would like to encourage students to start learning coding at younger age. It is great to use in classrooms, for tutors, code.org even has lesson plans to help you deliver the topic, and I would like to encourage all students in secondary schools and colleges to just try this out for just one session. You are able to try this anywhere from your phone, tablet or PC.”

The College currently offers a wide range of courses in this sector including two Level 3 courses - IT Practitioners (ICT) Systems Support  and Computer Games Programming. Paul highlights what’s involved: “Students spend their time learning about how computers work, how to set up the hardware and software, how to configure the system to suit individual user’s needs, work on troubleshooting and repairing PCs. Students are able to gain experience working with the College IT and Technical Support Team and will repair computers around the College and in businesses across Calderdale. Games programming teaches you about how to program on a variety of platforms, and then design and develop your own original game. Around this you will also learn skills in creative media including graphics design and animation.”

“We encourage independent study and offer the resources to support you to become an independent individual so you can learn and gain the knowledge needed as well as build your practical skills to enable you to build a website or a fix a PC independently. This allows our students to become entrepreneurs and set up their own businesses.” Paul continues.

If you would like more information about getting involved in computer science or coding or would like information about the new Calderdale association and free bitesize coding sessions please email paulwat@calderdale.ac.uk or call 01422 399 336.

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Calderdale College,
Francis Street,
Halifax, HX1 3UZ
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+44 (0) 1422 357 357

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+44 (0) 1422 399 399

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+44 (0) 1422 399 316