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Why I set up Cypher Coders – helping children to learn coding

Elizabeth Tweedale, 37, is the founder and CEO of Cypher Coders.

At Cypher, we want to give all children the chance to explore technology and dispel any myths about who can and can’t code!⁠

We offer live online and on location coding camps, clubs, weekly lessons for children aged six to 12 years. We also make inspirational creatively themed content to inspire, excite and build confidence in all children, and use a variety of programming languages, from Scratch, to Python and Roblox.

As well as our UK students, we are rapidly expanding in the US and have welcomed students from over 21 different countries.

Why I set it up Cypher

From studying and working in the tech industry, I believe by learning the foundations of coding at a young age we give children the base needed to elevate all careers.

Especially as a woman in tech, I’m determined to help get other young girls interested in tech and give them an understanding that tech is engaging, fun and accessible. This is at the heart of why I created Cypher in 2016; to challenge the perception of coding!

My advice to someone who wants to get into coding

Start young – between the ages of six to 12 is ideal.

After the age of six, a child’s brain is fully developed and ready for next-level learning. Before the age of 13 is also important to establish an education in STEM.

Studies have shown that after the age of 12, children have a harder time learning and becoming interested in STEM.

The challenges for women and girls getting into coding

I believe that men and women often have different learning styles and coding education needs to reflect that.

Men typically follow a linear approach of going from A to Z when solving problems, while women often start from the problem and work backwards.

We need to reinvent technology and coding education not only to draw more women in but a broader range of people. At Cypher we pride ourselves on a 50:50 ratio of girls to boys in our coding lessons for kids.

What do coders do?

That is a hard question to answer because coders hold a WIDE range of activities and jobs.

Not every coder is a programmer. A coder could be a marketing manager or an architect. If I had to describe it, coders vary from those that write algorithms to solve problems, to those that write code to change the appearance or functions on websites.

How do you become a coder?

There are a variety of avenues one can take to become a coder. After school programs and weekly coding lessons for kids are a great way to get your child comfortable with coding.

From there advanced courses in private education and then pursuing a degree at an accredited university is a great way to start – but you can also take your coding career to the next level with the right foundations through self-led courses online or even just YouTube!

We are currently offering a free coding lesson to children who are interested in giving coding lessons for kids a try.

Even if a child does not want to pursue a career in programming, coding is important in a wide variety of jobs.

Cypher’s accredited curriculum is designed to teach a firm foundation in computer science, above and beyond what children learn in school.  We provide children with a methodical and cumulative education that builds their skills in coding, communication, collaboration, creativity and flexibility… all whilst having fun and engaging them with topics they’ll love!

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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