Last week, we hosted 35 students from across 16 schools in Cornwall for Software Cornwall’s “Mission to Mars” work experience event.
Held in our training centre in our Barncoose offices, this event was aimed towards students in years 10 and 11 in schools across the county, to provide a hands-on view of what it’s really like to be a software engineer.
The week was based around the “Mission to Mars” challenge: a project that has been hugely successful during our previous Easter Coding Schools. During the event, the students worked in teams to write the software that would make two robots (named Bert and Ernie, naturally) manoeuvre safely around the challenges of the “Mars” environment.
On hand to teach the students about basic electronics, Raspberry Pis and Arduinos, as well as Agile development tools and practices, were a number of local industry professionals, volunteering on behalf of Software Cornwall. This included our own developers and test engineers (Byran, Ben, Lucy and Judith) as well as two of our Apprentices, Harvey and Tyler, who had in fact previously taken part in a Mission to Mars week before joining us at Bluefruit.
The reason this exercise works so well to help kids learn about software engineering, is because of the element of fun, and being able to see immediate results from the software they’re creating. It also involves working in a team, project management, and working in a commercial environment – all excellent experience to add to a CV.
Being a non-profit organisation, Software Cornwall relies on the time and funds donated by its members (included Bluefruit, Flowmoco, Cornwall College and many other amazing tech companies in Cornwall). However, we plan to make these Mission to Mars weeks a more regular event due to popularity, so we’ve launched a Crowdfunder campaign to help raise money for new kit (such as Raspberry Pis) and future events.
We’re excited to be a part of nurturing the next generation of software engineers in the South West as a part of Software Cornwall, and can’t wait to start planning the next event.
For more information on our involvement with events like Mission to Mars, check out our training and learning page.
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