Learning to code: How Avanade Poland educated and inspired local students

  • Posted on February 12, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes
coding programs for young adults

Saturday, June 9, 2018 was a special graduation day for 12 students, ranging from 12 to 16, in Krakow. They graduated from the first edition of “Szkola 3.0”, a program created by Avanade Poland in collaboration with the Sarigato Foundation. Operated by a group of passionate young people at Avanade, and the aim was to engage children from underprivileged families to affect positive change in the local community.

We set out with this first edition to explore languages like HTML and CSS, but the intention of the program goes well beyond learning to code. We wanted to share how a technology project takes shape, from the development of the idea all the way through execution.

The fundamental goal, and my personal favorite part of this project, was to put these teens into a modern work environment and show them how a workplace can be a collaborative, exciting and friendly environment to express one's abilities and learn new skills. Because the people we worked with are quite young, we tried to make lessons less stressful and friendlier than in regular classrooms. We used games and physical visualization of how programs work to make sure we kept everyone engaged at all times.

I’ll admit, I was nervous about how the students would respond to these topics; we had no idea what their expectations were. Once the instructors introduced themselves, the kids soon discovered that work can also be fun, and they ended up being very receptive to hearing what we had to say.

We spent many weekend workshops together in the Avanade's Krakow office, alternating lesson time with play time and showed them around the office, including a long stop at the Xbox station, which was obviously a hit.

After the success of the summer program, we decided to continue the initiative this past December. This time, we focused more on JavaScript, adding to the HTML and CSS basics the students had already learned. We again tried to keep the focus on having fun while learning; for example, the Christmas meeting had some holiday flavor thanks to decorations and small gifts.

Knowledge is a key to success. At Avanade Krakow, we believe that everyone should have the chance to set their expectations high, and we’re passionate and happy to share this knowledge with future generations. We want to give less fortunate kids the tools they need to create smarter, happier future for themselves. By making the work approachable and the environment collaborative and free from social exclusion, we made a genuine human impact on the world. Now hopefully these children will have the opportunity to make impacts of their own.

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