CoderDojo Fun with Big Fish

Posted by Conor Murphy on October 15, 2012 in Game Development -- Share:

Coder Dojo Arriving at the Big Fish Games Offices in Cork, Ireland on a Tuesday evening you might mistakenly think that the average age of an employee in our office is 12 years of age as streams of kids aged between 7 and 17 make their way to reception carrying their laptop bags. These kids are in fact a part of a phenomenon called CoderDojo, started a stones throw from the Big Fish Games offices in Cork by teen programmer James Whelton. Since it started 18 months ago CoderDojo has spread virally across the globe from Dublin to London to Tokyo to San Francisco to New York and everywhere in between.

So what is CoderDojo?

CoderDojo is a place to get together and discover how to can create cool stuff using the power of the internet and web technologies. CoderDojo is a place where you can learn from others and share what you are doing. CoderDojo is a movement orientated around running free not-for-profit coding clubs for young people. At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, rocking good time! CoderDojo has just one rule: “Above All: Be Cool“, bullying, lying, wasting people’s time and so on is uncool.

Dojo Kids

Big Fish Games and CoderDojo

In June, Big Fish Games in cooperation with McAfee started our very own CoderDojo, each week we have a hands on session with technologies like HTML5, CSS and Javascript and Python and cool tools such as Construct 2. Volunteers from Big Fish Games and McAfee simply try to help the kids to create something cool whether it’s CoderDojo veterans like Harry Moran(13), who developed his own game called PizzaBot last year and in the process officially became the worlds youngest Mac app developer, Alan Panayotova(10) who regularly contributes course content to help the other attendees to learn JavaScript or simply kids who want to go from digital consumers to creators.

One of the coolest things about the Dojo is that only a matter of weeks after starting the Dojo our first wave of newbies began to mentor the new attendees sharing the stuff they had created and also helping the new attendees get to grips with the technology. CoderDojo breaks the traditional stereotype of nerds locked away in their bedrooms, instead every Tuesday evening on entering the Dojo the buzz is palpable, we have a room full of like-minded, engaged, creative kids discovering how cool technology is not just to use but also to build.

Recently, a group of kids from our Dojo got the opportunity to meet Chris Campbell of Big Fish Studios and Jessica Sachs Director of developer relations at Big Fish Games in our Cork offices to discuss all things game related. It’s safe to say that both Chris and Jessica were blown away not only by how enthusiastic and engaged these kids are but also their level of technical knowledge, at one stage to Chris’s amazement conversation descended into a discussion of the best way to resolve memory leaks in a Lua script.

Kid Programmer

CoderDojo is quickly establishing itself as a breeding ground for a generation of bright, young computer geniuses destined to be the future of the hi-tech, high-knowledge, digital economy.

If you would like to find your nearest Dojo, start your own Dojo, get involved as a mentor or simply find out more about the CoderDojo phenomenon please go to CoderDojo.com

Written by

Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+