Coder Dojo Makes Coding Cool for Kids

On my recent visit to Ireland I met one of the world’s greatest salespersons.

Bill Liao

A charming gent named Bill Liao attended a tweet-up in Dublin and implored me to spend part of my holiday visiting one of his charitable projects called Coder Dojo, a coding class for children being held at Trinity College on a Saturday morning.

“I’ve been working all week,” I said, “and promised my wife that I would do some touristy things with her on Saturday.”

“Oh yes,” he said. “I’ve already spoken to your wife and she’s enthusiastic about the visit.”

Clearly, this is a man who knows how the world works. If he can convince my wife to visit a coding class on a Saturday morning, this is a man who is going to change the world!

Coder Dojo kids

Coder Dojo Dublin

I did visit the class and am so glad I did. CoderDojo is a completely free movement that creates coding clubs and regular sessions for young people. Volunteers teach children as young as 7 to code, develop websites, apps, programs, and games.

Dojos also organize tours of technology companies and bring in guest speakers to talk about their careers in technology.

“We have just one rule,” Liao said. “Be cool.  We know to be connected to these kids it has to be a fun, sociable, and kick ass experience.”

Liao’s vision is to have a Dojo in every major city in the world. In about a year, it’s already in more than 75 cities in 23 countries and the organization makes it straight forward to set one up.

The organization already has spawned a number of success stories.  Liao told me about a pre-teen who attended a university lecture and raised his hand to correct a professor on the use of a computer program.

The professor was surprised. “Now young man … how would you know I’m mistaken?”

“Because I wrote the program, sir,” the polite young man replied.

To get a better sense of the energy behind the program, watch this short video with a volunteer instructor from a class in Dublin.

Click here if you cannot see this video from the Dublin Coder Dojo.

Top image courtesy Coder Dojo Cavan

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