Connor Adams is a software developer at BNP Paribas. Once a week during his lunch break, he runs a Code Club at a primary school near his office in London. Here he tells us why he got involved with Code Club and how volunteering makes him better at his job.
I first encountered Code Club when they had a stall at a technology conference I was attending, and after speaking with someone from Code Club, I was pretty keen to get involved. I’ve always been into computers and technology but not always into coding: I work as a software developer at BNP Paribas but studied maths at uni, so I’ve learned most of my coding skills on the job.
I remember using Logo at school — I enjoyed getting that turtle to draw pretty shapes on the computer. Yet now we can offer children so much more, and we are able to do so at scale, thanks to organisations like Code Club. I wish Code Club had been around when I was at school!
Connor at his club (left) and with Dave and Sarah from Team Code Club, helping out at a Coolest Projects showcase event (right).
I have been running a Code Club for over two years now. To start off with I was nervous, but I soon found my feet. I really enjoy my time there and usually leave feeling energised, which is not the case after lunch every day!
Running the Code Club at lunchtime is really convenient for me. It’s easy for me to get away from my desk, but I think it works well for the kids too. It makes the session a bit shorter than an hour, around 45 minutes, but it’s enough time for the kids to get stuck into some code and complete a short project or two.
Code Club has been a great experience for my personal development, so it’s more than just the fuzzy good-feeling stuff of volunteering: it allows me to practice my public speaking, teaching, and mentoring skills. They say “If you can’t do, teach”, but if you can’t teach something well, do you really understand it?
I’ve also learned about interacting with children, which is a skill in itself. Kids can be very refreshing, they have lots of energy and ideas. I think that running a Code Club is a worthwhile endeavour, and it’s also great fun!
Do something worthwhile with your lunch break
Do you have a spare hour per week that you could spend inspiring children to code while working on your personal development? Then sign up to volunteer with Code Club at www.codeclub.org.uk/start-a-club/volunteers!