Our trip to Geeks

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Here are the Code Club Geeks! (Scrolling Marquee made by Shahzeb after the Code Club trip to Geeks)

Geeks is a local (multi award-winning) Web Development company which kindly invited our Code Club into their offices today to see how websites are developed for clients in the real world, and to answer our questions about careers in programming.

We were thrilled to be invited; their offices are amazing, lots of computers & programmers (only to be expected) and an enormous games/ relaxation room with snooker, table football, table tennis, gaming chairs, refreshments – and goodness knows what else that we didn’t see! Personally, I was surprised at how quiet the offices were (until we arrived). People were really, really busy and engrossed in their work.

Rebecca (a project manager) and Alex (a developer) gave us an introduction into what they do, their case studies and clients. The children then played a game that Geeks had developed – an interesting twist on “Pass the Parcel” (with gifts for everyone!). Each layer contained at least one html tag which had to be entered into the correct line of code to build our very own website in under 30 minutes. It was fascinating to watch the website develop before our eyes and we learned some new html tags, such as “marquee”, which causes text to scroll up, down, left or right automatically (and which we all liked) and “button”, which adds a clickable button to the website. We are anxious to have a go at including both of them next time!

Alex told us that it was making a program say “Hello Alex” for the first time as a child that made him realise he could control a machine and build what he wanted – this inspired him to develop a career as a programmer.

Rebecca told us that her most challenging projects were ones where two applications needed to interact with another, such as a payment application interacting with a shopping website. She explained that as a project manager, not a software engineer like Alex, she wasn’t as involved with the coding and so had gained tremendous satisfaction from successfully developing the website we made today!

We would really like to thank Rebecca and Alex as we realise how much time they had put into planning our activities and making our trip so enjoyable. Also Somayeh Aghnia, co-founder of Geeks, for making this possible through her strong sense of community relationships, particularly in this case, with Ray Kinsella of Merton Chamber of Commerce.

Thanks also (as always) to Tim & Jon, our wonderful volunteer programmers, and to Miss Hughes and Mr Sapper for accompanying us.

We had lots more questions but ran out of time. Perhaps the children will blog their questions as comments below and Rebecca & Alex have kindly offered to answer them all.

PS It was MUFTI day, normally we look a lot smarter!

18 thoughts on “Our trip to Geeks

  1. Thank you for teaching us new codes, Alex. Look what I did on the blog, under the picture of Code Club!

      

  2. Hi Evan, I’m really glad you had a fun time!

    To answer your questions:

    Q: Whats the hardest bit about coding?

    A: The hardest bit for me was when I started, there was a whole new vocabulary for me to learn before I could understand anything! Especially error messages (which you will see A LOT of), they are usually written by experienced developers who understand EVERYTHING and expect everyone else to as well. That made it really difficult to fix the errors as they are usually very hard to understand unless you have come across that error before! Thankfully there is a huge developer community on the internet (they build the internet!) and they are much easier to understand (I would recommend signing up to StackOverflow, the best question/answer resource on the web). Don’t get disheartened by all the jargon out there, and always ask your teacher for help when you get stuck. They will know the answer and will be able to explain it to you much more effectively.

    Q: Why do you get into coding?

    A: Growing up I was on the family computer A LOT. This was usually to do homework on, as this was before facebook and youtube had reared their distracting heads. Then as I started to get older, I started to wonder ‘what actually IS the internet?’, and asked my ICT teacher how websites are made. He showed me HTML, and told me how (very) basically the internet is just my computer loading a document from another computer, connected to eachother via our internet connections. Then at university, one of my modules was building a program that delayed an audio signal (like a delay guitar pedal) on a computer. This is where I had my ‘a-ha’ moment, I realised that I COULD CONTROL MACHINES. From that moment on I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to code.

    Q: Did you learn any languages at school?

    A: Very basic Spanish and even basic-er French. Oh you meant programming languages? Just a bit of HTML and CSS that I taught myself after school. Our ICT syllabus was very out-dated, it was essentially there to teach kids how to use Word and Excel, and only on Windows. Luckily it seems schools have started to realise that there is much, much more to computers than Miscrosoft Office.

    Q: If you could be anything but a coder, what you be?

    A: Probably an astronaut. Or a rockstar. But I’m not fussy.

      

  3. Hi! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to Geeks!

    To answer your questions, there is no age limit to coding! In fact, the earlier you start the better, as the thing that matters the most when learning is practise, practise, practise! A great way to get into it is to use the Codecademy website, as that is where I went when I first started leaning how to build websites. I would recommend signing up (it’s free) and starting the Web track, which introduces you to HTML and CSS. After that, I would start the Javascript fundamentals course to get used to using javascript. You have probably touched on a lot of the content in those training courses already, but they are a great place to start and then after there you can have a look at the other courses Codecademy has to offer.

    And to judge how difficult an application is going to be to build? That really depends on how big the end result is going to be! The bigger a website (or web application) is, the more complex the code will be, as there are more interactions, settings and calculations involved. The key to managing such large applications is easy though, you just make every calculation/interaction small and simple, and then simply join them together (like playing with Lego – each brick is small, but when you put a bunch of them together, you can make anything!).

    Hope this helps!

    Alex

      

  4. Sorry, there was a glitch with my previous text- it says ‘,’. It is meant to say ‘,’ and , ”

      

  5. I really enjoyed our trip to, ‘Geeks,’ as I learnt new codes, like marquee, which I tried out on this website… I inspected element and edited the HTML and put a, ” before it and a, ‘,’ after! It wasn’t permanent though. Thank you very much Nicola, Jon, Tim and Miss Hughes for organizing this trip.

      

  6. I really enjoyed our trip to GEEKS and I feel like I could go there everyday! I’m surprised that I knew all of that coding language just because I started thinking about it a bit more.Also I’m very proud of my self as I got a hat and two memory sticks!

      

  7. Thanks to the ‘Geeks’. The trip was awesome! My question: How do you figure out the difficulty of coding and plan it at first?
    I love coding how old do you have to be to sign up?

      

  8. I loved the trip so much! Here’s some questions for the Geek’s 😀

    Whats the hardest bit about coding?

    Why do you get into coding?

    Did you learn any languages at school?

    If you could be anything but a coder, what you be?

      

  9. To Alex and Rebecca. I loved the experience. Also why do you work for GEEKS and not another company. From Jude

      

  10. The trip to geeks was amazing! I learnt so much and it was really interesting to see how real programmers worked. Thank you so much!

      

  11. You look like you all had such a great time and the office sounds amazing with the gaming chairs and pool tables. I am sure that you were all very inspired and that the trip gave you an insight into possible programming careers for the future. Watch this space…

      

  12. I really enjoyed the trip to Geeks because they showed us how to make a website and we also played a game of pass the parcel and when the music stops you were given a memory stick and a tag and you had to put the tag on the screen and find where it went in the coding of a website/webpage. We were gradually building and at the end of the game we all had a memory stick as well as a rather cool looking website! I very much enjoyed the trip. Thank you very much Nicola, Jon, Miss Hughes and Tim

      

  13. I loved the trip to geeks and learnt so much about java script and what different blocks you can have.I really liked the marquee block!

      

  14. I really enjoyed the visit, I learnt a lot about HTML, like marquee and Div! It was a really fun trip, and I shall definitely use a lot of the new code in my HTML! The offices were huge and I learnt a lot about how websites, that I use, are made. It was an overall brilliant experience and the hosts there were really nice!

    Thank you Tim, Jon and Nicola.

      

  15. Thanks for the amazing “Geeks” trip. I think I have a new favourite HTML tag, marquee! When we next use HTML I’m going to use it a lot along with the rest of the tags we learnt.
    Thanks so much, Tim, Jon and Nicola so much for the trip!

      

  16. What a fantastic visit you had, very kind hosts. I wish I could have been there. What questions have the young “Geeks” still to ask? I look forward to reading them. I wonder who wants to be a programmer after the visit.

      

  17. What amazed me about the pass the parcel game was how they knew more HTML code than I ever taught them?

      

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