Northern Irish technology company Kainos is encouraging 17- to 19-year-olds to attend CodeCamp, a free two-week course in mobile app creation.
The firm, headquartered in Belfast, will offer up to 80 students a chance to work closely with its developers in a "real-world" software development environment. The goal is to give teenagers a real-life view into the world of software development -- in a way that is both fun and easy to understand.
Kainos CTO Tom Gray said, "The U.K. has a long heritage of technology innovation, but often there hasn't been the right level of support behind the talent. Our goal is to find those creative minds that are currently locked away in their bedrooms and give them the encouragement and backing they need to develop their talents and realize their dreams."
[ Make Things Do Stuff initiative aims to foster technical creativity in British teens. Read more at Microsoft, Virgin Media Back U.K. 'Digital Maker' Initiative. ]
Scheduled from July 22 to August 2 at Belfast Metropolitan College, CodeCamp will offer young people the chance to work with systems like the MIT App Inventor, an Android phone simulator that lets developers perform native services like making phone calls, sending text messages, recording media and querying a Web database or service. To help application development, students will also have access to graphics tools such as Paint.Net.
Kainos wants teams to create real apps for Android phones that could potentially be published on the Google Play Store. The finished products will be judged by Kainos and Belfast Metropolitan College, with prizes awarded to the winners.
To be accepted into CodeCamp, applicants must have a background, knowledge or familiarity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), according to Kainos. In a blog post, Gray pointed out that 16 million people in the U.K. aged 15 and over don't have basic online skills -- yet 90% of all jobs will require ICT skills by 2015.
For Gray, that's a scary statistic, and a problem the U.K., which has been struggling to get young people interested in IT careers, must address with urgency.
According to Kainos, CodeCamp will provide the perfect opportunity for teenagers to get a better idea of what software development is really like while also raising their awareness of IT career prospects. Also, Gray promised, "It's going to be great fun!"
Kainos is a privately held tech firm with 350 employees.