One of the best ways to develop your interest in programming is to be around others who share those same interests. You’ll get to spend time with people who are at a similar level of experience plus receive guidance from those further down the path to becoming a fully fledged software engineer. As an added bonus, the community aspect of the events can greatly accelerate your rate of learning.
Thankfully, there are a few different social events based around just this.
Cornwall Tech Jam
Cornwall Tech Jam, hosted monthly between Redruth and Bodmin, is a great opportunity to try out a range of code based challenges. Whether it’s programming Minecraft, building a time-lapse photography system or making traffic lights follow a sequence, there is plenty for everyone. Tech Jams are supported by Software Cornwall and are a great way to begin interacting with our community.
Tech Jams are suitable for ages 8 to 80 however, any under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Code Club is a national network of coding events, run by volunteers, for ages 9 – 13. At each one, a team of volunteers offers support for children who are learning more about programming, through engaging activities. Typically, these clubs are run as after school activities in the schools themselves or in public spaces such as Libraries.
You can find out more about Code Club, as well as where your nearest one is via their website.
Supporting the more broad STEM agenda, STEM clubs offer activities around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Today, software can be found in almost every walk of life, and these clubs offer a chance to see it embedded in a wider range of activities. The clubs are aimed at most ages, with activities available for primary schools right through to University level.
You can get more information on you nearest STEM club by visiting stem.org.uk/stem-clubs.
Game Jams are (generally) intensive game development events hosted by communities around the world. Teams made up of developers, artists and sound engineers collaborate to create a small game in anything from 12 hours to 3 days. Besides being great fun, the collaborative nature of the events ensures that skills are picked up during the jam.
As you’d imagine, the variety of roles in game development means that non-coders are welcome at the events. In fact, some of the best games I’ve seen originate from them were developed by teams with a single programmer. Instead, they focus on doing something creative and original instead of technically brilliant.
Game Jams are hosted by communities and interest groups. One of the best places to find out if there’s one upcoming near you is on indiegamejams.com.
All of these events, to a greater or lesser extent, are run by volunteers. If you have skills in one of these areas and want to give something back, why not volunteer. Not only will you get that warm fuzzy feeling from helping others, you’ll also sharpen your skills through teaching.
Do you enjoy attending or volunteering at one of these events? Have something to add to the list? Get in touch with the author via Twitter. If you want to find out about these types of activities supported by Software Cornwall, join our Education Outreach newsletter.