First Scottish software skills academy to be launched

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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AMBITIOUS plans to create a new generation of computer programmers at Scotland’s first dedicated software skills academy have been unveiled ­today.

The aim of CodeClan Academy is to build on Scotland’s vibrant digital sector and it is being launched amid a global shortage of digital skills affecting businesses.

Forecasts suggest Scotland could offer up to 11,000 job opportunities a year in the digital sector, rising by 2,000 every year.

Employers are currently offering upwards of £23,000 to recruit entry-level developers. The coding school, which will breed a new wave of computer programmers, is industry-led and government-backed.

CodeClan, a school for web and mobile software development, is based on the success of the new generation of immersive academies around the world, including Flatiron School in New York, Makers in London and Stackademy in Berlin.

The academy will draw on an untapped resource of talented individuals who have an aptitude for coding but need a route into the industry.

The curriculum has been tailored to fit real-time market demands in Scotland and is working with the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Rebecca Heaney, of Code-Clan, said: “Digital is part of everyday life and CodeClan will fast-track access into shaping that world. A CodeClan qualification will create countless career paths and give students skills they can take anywhere.”

Self-confessed “computer geek” Michael Pavling, who is leading the new digital skills academy, said: “Computers are basically dumb. They are nothing without a person behind it, controlling what they can do.

“Coders are basically computer programmers, enabling the machine to do whatever the client is requiring.

“The academy is there to teach a new wave of people like me to tell the computers what they are needed to do, be it console games to working traffic lights or managing air traffic control.

“Coders are there to think out problems and work out how to make the computers work in the most efficient way.” Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “CodeClan will provide new opportunities for people from many walks of life to meet pressing skills shortages in this growing and vibrant digital sector.”

CASE STUDY

Computers are dumb, so require ‘coders’, according to Michael Pavling, one of the country’s top so-called coders – a computer programmer who is leading the new digital skills academy.

The 42-year-old self-confessed ‘computer geek’, who went through the 70s and 80s working on Commodores and Spectrums, claims almost every workplace and every part of daily life requires the input of a computer.

But he said: “They are basically dumb. They are nothing without a person behind it, controlling what it can do.

“Coders are basically computer programmers, enabling the machine to do whatever the client is requiring.

“The academy is there to teach a new wave of people like me to tell the computers what they are needed to do, be it console games to working traffic lights, or managing air traffic control.

“Coders are there to think out problems and work out how to make the computers to work in the most efficient way.

“Computers are used in so many places. Cars are now operated by computers, schools are open and closed by them, bank ATMs need them, and traffic lights are controlled by them - but the computers need to be told what to do, and that is our job.

“Companies use in-house programmers, so the potential is massive. That is what this skills academy is aiming to achieve.

“All computer programmes require codes, and that is where the term coder comes from.”

Mr Pavling is head of curriculum at the newly-launched CodeClan skills academy, a coding school for web and mobile software development, funded through the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership.

The Scottish Government claims it is committed to deliver world class connectivity in Scotland by 2020, ensuring Scotland is a world leading digital nation and access to a talent pool with exceptional digital skills will be critical to achieving this.

ScotlandIS has been appointed by Skills Development Scotland to create and launch CodeClan for the digital technologies industry.

They are the trade body for the digital technologies industry. ScotlandIS represents over 300 software, telecoms, IT and digital agency businesses throughout the country.

Its remit is to raise the profile of the industry in Scotland, lobby policy makers on relevant issues and support its members in the development of business relationships with customers, suppliers and partner companies.

Members offer a broad range of professional services and skills to users in industry, commerce and the public sector.

Many members are also internationally recognised and active in world export markets.

ScotlandIS has members across the breadth of the Scottish digital technologies industry from global players to small highly specialist companies.