Monday, August 24, 2015

Inspiring kids to code in Ghana

Ghana saw the maiden edition of Code Camp Ghana, Junior session; a collaboration between Greencode Academy and Code Avengers from the 10th - 13th August 2015.

Promising kids, from all across the city, came to the camp to experience what Greencode Academy had promised would be a fun filled learning period.

The joy in coding

After a thorough orientation from camp tutors and handlers, all was set. The first day, the camp proved to be a hit amongst participants and their parents, with many expressing their joy that an event of this nature was happening in Ghana.

After the 'ice breaker' session participants were taken through the Hour Of Code and then divided into their various groups and assigned their tutors. During the 4 day period, participants worked through beginner lessons in HTML/CSS, JavaScript as well as some game development.

Many of the participants were new to the material but the tutors worked their very best and made the entire learning process at Code Camp memorable. Even breaks were a period of fun and continued learning.

The various groups battled it out in very stiff competitions amongst themselves and presented their final works to everyone as they received and answered questions from other teams and tutors.

The Experts inspire

Participants were also introduced to blogging by Ghanaian tech Blogger, Kojo Ampadu, as he walked them through the world of blogging and his related experiences.

Greencode CEO, Marcus Elendu Jnr, through videos, unveiled the tech world and the infinite opportunities.

This had many participants excited and inspired about future possibilities and what they could do to help their communities and schools.

The 'idea pitching' and interview session was full of fun and very enlightening, as many of the participants had no clue how to achieve their ideas, although, some have already selected projects to work on as they master the skills they picked up at Code Camp.

What's in store for the future?

All in all, the Code Camp in Ghana was a success and everybody can't wait for the next session which Greencode promises will be bigger and better than before.

Founding Team - (left to right) - Marcus Elendu Jnr (CEO Greencode Academy), Donatus Adjaayi-Tagoe (Code Camp Director), Abdul Aziz Tetteh (Code Camp Technical officer), Nathan Edward Siebu (Code Camp Director)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Learn how to fly with Python!

Over the past 2 years we have had tons of requests to teach new languages. But our most popular by far is... PYTHON

So why Python?

  1. Its one of the EASIEST and most FUN languages to learn!
  2. GREAT PRODUCTS built in Python include Quora, Pintreset, Instagram, Disqus, DropBox, YouTube etc. Even Google's web search spider was written in Python.
  3. It's used for WEBSITES (see Django), APPS (see Kivy) and GAMES (see PyGame).
  4. It has fantastic FREE MODULES that make it easy to do things like math, science and engineering calculations (e.g., financial analysis etc.
  5. Many of our users were frustrated by other online Python courses—especially Codecademy.

Get ready to fly!

So strap yourself in and get ready learn Python 3 with Code Avengers.

Why learn Python as well as JavaScript?

It's true that both languages can be used to create websites, apps and games, however, there are definitely cases where Python is more powerful!

A few weeks ago wrote Python code to analyse data for my PhD theisis (which I [finally submitted last month]( ) and it really did feel using a chainsaw, compared previous analysis I did with Java, Perl, and Visual Basic.

In my case, I love JavaScript for interactive web pages, but prefer Python for desktop apps.

Also, learning different languages really will help you become a better coder and to land a better job!

Try a free 10 minute introduction now!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to write a PhD thesis the hard way

Now, I'm not sure that I've ever heard a PhD grad refer to thesis writing as easy, but I'm guessing my experience was nastier than most. As a form of therapy and in case it might prevent future suffering for other thesis victims, I thought I'd share a few lessons learnt and words of caution from my rather tortuous experience.

If you dislike writing essays, you'll detest writing a thesis

I was one of those people who largely enjoyed school. Gym class was always my favourite class (if you exclude lunch time), but I genuinely loved Math and Physics, and to a lesser extent Chemistry, Accounting and History. However, there was one period of the day I dreaded: ENGLISH! I liked my teachers, by the subject matter just made little sense to my logical way of thinking, and writing just wasn't much fun. When I enrolled in a PhD 6 years ago, I knew that the fun of researching a topic I was passionate about would eventually be consumed by the dreaded thesis writing. I guess I figured I'd just suck it up and grind through it, which turned out to much more difficult than expected BECAUSE...

Building a business while doing a PhD part time is crazy!

When I started building Code Avengers I did up a spreadsheet and it all seemed quite manageable. Keeping Sunday as a day of rest and setting aside 7.5 hours sleep per night (I wish!) leaves 100 hours per week to be divided as follows:
  • Exercise: 5 hours
  • Code Avengers: 60 hours
  • Thesis writing: 20 hours
  • Family time: 15 hours
  • Commuting: 0 hours
While this seemed reasonable, there was something I grossly underestimated. Building a sustainable business requires all of ones focus and attention. While I technically had the time to work on both, my brain really struggled to focus on both. Juggling a 70k word thesis with 100s of thousands of lines of code, along with marketing strategies etc. was a nightmare. I would set aside 4 hours to write my thesis... but all I could think about was Code Avengers! But it gets worse...

Starting a family and building a business while doing a PhD part time is insane!

A month after I started Code Avengers my wife gave birth to our first daughter, who I decided to feature as the star of the level 1 web course (they were the only decent images I had on my computer at the time). A couple years later we had our 2nd beautiful baby. Once again time wasn't the biggest issue, it was disruption of sleep patterns. Staying awake for more than an hour while working on my thesis was a massive challenge.

But, I guess it was worth it all in the end

Looking back, despite the difficult circumstances, I am glad I did a PhD. It enabled me to study something I am super passionate about (computer-assisted education) to a level of detail that there is no way I could have done if I worked in industry. And now that its all over, I'm actually somewhat glad to have experienced from improving my writing through writing a thesis!