Micro-interview with Code Club alumni member, Oliver

This interview was originally published on the Code Club blog.
I've replicated it here, but you can also access it from the link above.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation maintains the copyright for this post.

In our micro-interview blog series, we’re chatting to educators and young coding enthusiasts to hear about their Code Club experience.

When we received a message from 17-year-old Oliver, asking about the possibility of obtaining a Code Club lanyard to serve as a reminder of his experiences at Code Club, we knew we needed to find out more!

So we asked Oliver to tell us about his time at a Code Club in Dursley Library, Gloucestershire, which fueled his passion for computer science, leading him to study it at both GCSE and A level. Here’s what he said…

What inspired you to join Code Club?

I’ve always been fascinated by computers, but my primary school (like many) had a very limited ICT offering. I wanted to take a step on from Scratch, so joining Code Club was a natural choice for me!

So, when I was 8, I attended Code Club at Dursley Library. Among the local clubs my mum discovered, Code Club was by far the best — the resources were really well planned and helped to build up your coding skills.

How did participating in Code Club influence your interest in computer science?

Code Club at Dursley Library shaped my interest in computer science. The engaging activities and the guidance of the sixth formers running the club fuelled my passion for the subject. Every week we learnt a new skill and combined it all into a short Python game. The sessions were really fun, and I still sit down some weekends and just play around with Python!

What skills did you gain from Code Club that benefit your current studies?

The experience of coding helped, as coming into secondary school I already had some knowledge of Python. As well as this, I built a small Python script that colour-codes my virtual timetable, which I still find incredibly helpful!

Away from computer science, my existing knowledge of Python helped enormously when learning algebra, as I could apply my understanding of variables to maths! Don’t all laugh at once!

How has Code Club influenced your career direction?

I think Code Club had a huge impact! As soon as I joined my secondary school, I knew that I enjoyed programming and that I wanted to study computer science for GCSE. I attended activities, went to workshops, and even managed to go on a school trip to Silicon Valley. All of this got me excited for the future, and my experiences in Code Club played a pivotal role in shaping my career direction and is a key factor in why I now study computer science for A level.

What makes Code Club a great space for learners to explore computer science?

In my experience, the groups in Code Club have always been small, so there’s loads of time to play around and try new things. One of the key things I took away from it was that it’s OK to play around and get things wrong.

What advice would you give to other children thinking of joining a Code Club?

Go for it! It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore your interest in computers and learn in a fun and engaging way. It can be challenging, but once you get started, there’s nothing more satisfying than having your ideas appear on the screen before you!

Thank you, Oliver, for sharing your experience with us. And yes, we sent him a lanyard!

If you enjoyed this micro-interview, check out our micro-interview with young coder Terrell (9) and learn more about his experiences.

You don’t need any coding experience to run a Code Club, and you can help more young people like Oliver learn vital coding and digital skills for the future. Start a club today!

November 2023