Aspirant Coders Test their Mettle
The computer LAN at Civil Engineering on the Howard College campus was unusually busy for a Friday afternoon recently, when it played host to a workshop with a difference. To the background strains of a live musician playing mellow jazz, some 60 aspirant computer coders gathered to try their hand at computer coding.
Run by CodeMakers in conjunction with the School of Engineering’s Hub for the African City of the Future (AfriHub), the workshop was aimed at people who wished to develop an understanding of coding and its uses.
CodeMakers is a non-profit organisation that teaches computer coding to learners of all ages. It primarily works with youth and was keen to introduce coding fundamentals to UKZN students of all disciplines.
‘Understanding how a system works is the first step in mastering that system,’ explained CodeMaker founder and facilitator, Dr Justin Yarrow. ‘Understanding the logic of computer programmes unlocks an incredible power, both in the computer and in the imagination of students.’
AfriHub Manager, Dr Rudi Kimmie, concurred: ‘Technology is reshaping our lives and Africans need to leapfrog the digital divide to stay relevant in a connected world’. He continued: ‘Information and Communications Technology not only connects us and liberates us, but it also enables us to dream the future into reality, more so than we’ve ever imagined.’
Participants were introduced to the logic of Scratch coding, a drag and drop coding language developed at MIT and used by millions around the world. They also learnt the basics of how to make an animation, and how to make a computer game.
‘Harvard Law students are learning how to code. Seven year old learners in the United Kingdom are learning how to code. What’s stopping you?’ said Yarrow.
The Hub for the African City of the Future (AfriHub) is an initiative within the UKZN’s School of Engineering. Its mission is to facilitate multidisciplinary engagement that will result in innovative and sustainable solutions for African problems.