Coding for Good

I’m thrilled Sam Moorhouse could share his work with Global Code. I believe strongly that we’re all in this together. And if we each give a little to our communities and our globe, we’ll be able to accomplish amazing things. I know Sam agrees.

I’ve been a software engineer my whole life, so I know the power, the creativity, and the passion that comes with building something from scratch.

I started Global Code two years ago, with the aim of bringing practical, professional software engineering skills to students in Ghana. Over the last two years me and a team of volunteers have taught nearly a hundred students at three universities.

We run a three week summer program every July. We give every student a raspberry pi, and use it to teach Linux, python, git, Heroku, web APIs and a little electronics. The final week is a project which the students design and build themselves in teams of three.

It’s great fun: creativity, team work, agency, and problem solving are key. We write a lot of code. We wear shorts in class and use first names. It’s a mile away from what our students are used to, and they love it.

The days are long but the work is very rewarding. One of my favourite experiences of the year was seeing Damask and Gjeta, two of our volunteers who are software engineers in the UK, address our class at the University of Ghana in Accra, the capital.

For the whole class - and particularly the women - to see two young, professional female engineers was a game changer. They’re all still in touch.

Right now I’m in Kenya planning for 2020. My personal goal is that we teach five hundred students in five years, so we’re working a lot on manageable, sustainable growth.

To that end, next year we’re bringing Global Code to five universities in Ghana and one in Lagos, Nigeria. And for the first time, we’ll bring back some of our own alumni to teach classes, in return for a small stipend. I’m really happy to be in a position where we can make that happen.

I believe that everyone fundamentally wants to give a little, to make the world a bit better. And as technologists there’s a thing we know which is a force multiplier in the developing world. These days, Ghana is "in a hurry" to get people into jobs, and being a programmer is a lucrative attainable career right now.

Let’s be clear: coding isn’t for everyone. But if you’re passionate and you want to learn, a program like ours can give you the tools to change your world, benefit your community, and put money in your pocket.

Global Code provides a platform for programmers to give back. We’re not teaching Computer Science. Inusa, our staffer in Ghana put it best: we don’t teach people how to code, we teach people to code.

So happy new year, and happy JavaScript January! Check out our website GlobalCode.org.uk, follow us on twitter @glblcd, and get in touch with me @sammoorhouse if you have any questions or you want to help out. We’re looking for more women & PoC volunteers, and the trip can be fully funded.

The contributors to JavaScript January are passionate engineers, designers and teachers. Emily Freeman is a developer advocate at Kickbox and curates the articles for JavaScript January.