National Coding Week: In conversation with coding masterminds across the Bruntwood SciTech network
National Coding Week is all about raising awareness of the opportunities that can come through learning new digital skills, especially when it comes to learning and using code - and it’s never too late to try it out. Code is used across all industries; from the building blocks of apps and websites to the creation of new software, digital services and medical devices.
Across our locations in Manchester, Cheshire, Birmingham and Leeds we have pioneering and disruptive businesses, from startups through to global names, mastering and leading the way with code in ways that will change and shape the future of the science and tech sector.
1. Why is coding such an exciting part of the tech industry?
Ruth Ng from multi-award winning coding school Northcoders said: “We're at a time in history where technology is defining what it means to be human. What better industry is there to help play a part in building our future?
“Tech is constantly moving and evolving, which makes it a genuinely exciting place to work in. And, more than ever, it's crucial that the tech that defines us is built by people from all walks of life. In a post-COVID world, the tech industry is one of the few set to continue thriving, and it isn't hard to see why given how central it is for progression in all industries, everywhere.”
2. So why is coding and programming such an important skill to have today?
Located at Manchester Science Park, Misbah Gedal - Head of Partnerships at Wakelet said: “Coding is a great skill to have. In today’s world, it’s the foundation of all forms of technology and requires plenty of creativity, persistence and resourcefulness.
“Amongst the obvious benefits, coding also empowers you to explore other elements of tech. It helps you become more digitally fluent, allows you to pursue a passion, and boosts problem solving and logical skills. The required collaboration with different team members and stakeholders also improves interpersonal skills!
“If you're a talented developer and are prepared to put the hard work in, you should be excited – you’re in very high demand!”
3. Coders must have a team of people behind them to help get to the end product. How many skills and roles are required in getting to the final app or service?
Wakelet’s Misbah commented: “At Wakelet we have a diverse team of people with different skill sets and backgrounds working together to build the best platform for our users. These include product owners, business analysts, project managers, UI & UX designers, front-end and backend developers, app developers, infrastructure engineers, quality assurance engineers and marketing specialists.
“Solid skill sets are only one aspect of building great products. Strong teams also need effective communication skills, a strong culture, shared goals, clear roles and responsibilities, and creative freedom and independence. All of this needs to be coordinated and orchestrated to make sure we work together as efficiently as possible to build the best platform possible!”
4.What are the most important skills to consider involved in coding?
Located at Alderley park in Cheshire, Ciaran Jessup - Head of Engineering at Lokulus says: “One of the most important qualities in a coder is an enquiring mind. It's not enough to accept that something is broken, you need to have a burning desire to find out why something is broken (or how to create something from a blank page) and a want to make it work better.
“At times coding can be a frustrating profession where you're challenging your mind against the unknown but if you've got the determination to succeed, when success comes (and it always does) the feeling of achieving something with your team-mates is unrivalled. Taking an idea from someone's imagination and making it real is a truly empowering experience.”
5. How can the city you're located in and the communities around you help individuals get involved in coding?
Al Dossetter, Managing Director of Medchemica at Alderley Park said: “There is a great history of computing in the North West. Manchester is a magnet for internet based companies and high performance banking and security computing. We often ask experts in these areas for pointers if we have a system to optimise and they are very willing to help.”
Ruth Ng from Northcoders expressed: “In Manchester and Leeds we're right in the centre of the beating heart of the city – and we love it. We've built a cutting-edge campus at Circle Square and Platform, surrounded by other extremely creative tech businesses, so there's no better place to feel inspired. It all feels very symbiotic.”
Kevin Blair - Director at Atmos VR on being located at Innovation Birmingham said: I love being located here at Innovation Birmingham, there's such a buzz and you get to meet other entrepreneurs going through the same struggles and bounce ideas off each other. It's also great to have the opportunity to meet other customers at events like the monthly Tech Wednesdays to discuss and hear new ideas.
6. Covid19 has shone a light on the importance of technology, but this has also meant more people now working from home - do you think it's important for teams to be together physically to share ideas and accelerate innovation in this area?
Ciaran from Lokulus said: “This is a great question and one that I've personally struggled with over the last 6 months or so. Historically I've always been of the view that you can't beat getting a group of people together in a room and really fleshing out an idea. However what 2020 has demonstrated to me is that if you've a well-motivated team, a clear vision and you've invested in the right tooling to allow your team to collaborate effectively, any obstacles can be overcome.
“Our new offices at Alderley Park offer the perfect blend of both in-office presence and tele-presence allowing our teams to mix and match whatever collaboration style is most appropriate to themselves and the problems that they're working on.”
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