Bermotech teaches youngsters to crack coding by end of summer
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As the wheels of technology spin ever faster, parents are facing up to the terrifying prospect that soon their children will know far more than them.
In September, this is only set to increase when computer coding becomes mandatory across all state primary and secondary schools.
If that is not enough for your little geniuses, Bermotech, based in Finchley Road, are running short summer courses in iPhone and iPad app development, for children aged nine to 12 and teenagers aged 13 to 15.
Narges Berry, founder and CEO of Bermotech, has one main piece of advice for young coders of the future: “Just start as soon as possible.”
The benefits of doing a coding course seem clear for a glittering future career in IT, but the Swiss Cottage resident argues that it is helpful for just about any job. “Coding is very logical, so children have to learn to think in steps. They have to learn about solving problems and bringing their ideas on paper before they actually code. So it’s a process.”
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It would even help in more creative roles. Berry explains that design is one of the most important aspects of creating an app. “You could write the most amazing app technically, but people will not use it if the user interface design does not look good.” It’s an important lesson, as children need to think about how other people will interact with their creations. “They learn how to mix and match colours and how to allow users to navigate from one screen to another.”
It’s all very hands on, and parents of nine-year-olds may breathe a sigh of relief that they do not have to have iPhones. The children are taught through interactive puzzles and simulators, so that they can see the results straight away. “The sense of achievement they get from developing code gives them a lot of confidence.”
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While it can be a worry if children spend hours after school on the internet, away from parks and books, “at least if they are encouraged to code, it is constructive.” Children should first think about what they want to learn and create. They can then explore thousands of resources online, including coding tutorials.
Encouragement for girls
The increase in technological opportunities in school and at work is exciting, but there is still some difficulty in getting girls involved. At secondary school, girls are as likely to study Stem (science, technology engineering and maths) subjects up to GCSE, but the numbers drop at A-level. Furthermore, only 17 per cent of the UK’s technology jobs are held by women, so Berry believes that it is crucial that girls have strong tech role models. An inspirational physics A-level teacher encouraged her to do a one-week insight into an engineering course at Birmingham University, which led to an electronic and computer engineering degree, followed by an Msc in computer science from Imperial College London. “If it hadn’t been for her,” she adds, “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”
For parents still worried about lagging behind: at least there’s hope for children in this brave new world.
Five-day courses for both age groups cost £350 and take place at Swiss Cottage School from July 28. Visit bermotech.com