Craig Steele, CoderDojo Scotland Leader

Written by Alan Robertson on 30 November 2015 in Feature

For 100 days, Connect is running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland

Craig Steele (@CoderScot)

Job Title/Organisation: Leader at CoderDojo Scotland

What does your role involve?

We run computer coding clubs for young people across Scotland. Our clubs are run by volunteers who are keen to share their skills with the next generation of digital makers. At the clubs the young people can learn to build apps, design games, make wearable technology, or experiment with new technologies. It makes learning to code a fun and sociable experience. 

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

Our volunteers are the most important part of CoderDojo. Without them our clubs wouldn’t run, and the CoderDojo network couldn’t grow and reach more young people. We’re constantly on the look out for enthusiastic and talented technologists to get involved with our clubs, or consider setting up one in their local area.

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

Last year we worked with 100 young people from across Glasgow who wouldn’t normally take part in clubs like CoderDojo. These young people were facing multiple barriers to participation in a regular CoderDojo club including access to technology and transportation.

Over a one-day workshop we introduced them to the world of computer programming using the Raspberry Pi computer. The goal wasn’t to turn them all into software developers but to open up their eyes to the possibilities of working in the digital and technologies sector, or how they could use digital skills as part of another hobby or interest. 

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

An important factor is the perception of digital skills. Many people wrongly assume all young people are tech wizards. They may be digital natives, growing up surrounded by devices, but that doesn’t mean they understand how they work, or more importantly how they can create their own digital products.

We should encourage more young people to be makers not just consumers of digital content.

Which new technology excites you the most?

I’ve had the chance to play with some virtual reality headsets (including Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift). It really does feel like you’ve been transported to another location. This has huge potential not just for video games but for attending live events remotely, or other forms of media – you might really get to be inside the next summer blockbuster movie.

What's your favourite app and why?

I love Spotify - it’s great having access to such a huge collection of music that I can listen to anywhere. However, I also use 1Password to securely store all my passwords and login details – that’s the most useful app I own.

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

I think home automation, having apps to control everything from your house lights to your kettle, will be more mainstream in 2016. We’re not quite in a world of robot housekeepers yet, but we’re getting closer.

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