Introduction\n\nPassion and drive are two vital ingredients which can lead to incredible things being created. They allow for visions to be successfully executed against a backdrop of difficulties and challenges, and can inspire others to join you on your journey. To have the ability to make ideas come to life is a privilege, and to share such skills with others can allow many to help make the world a much better place for us all (including yourself) to live. This is why I believe it is so important to try to lift up and empower those around us, and I try my best to play my part.\n\nI've always tried to attend open days and recruitment fairs to be there to explain options and MOST IMPORTANTLY, answer the important questions that need answering. I've written a post about this in the past, and how important it is from many perspectives. I also have tried to take the time to teach digital skills to others (including Software Engineering, better use of tools, getting the most out of data etc) using various methods including face-to-face, presentations, social events and demonstrations with videos and working proof of concepts. I've even taught a few sessions in the classroom, and this post is about these experiences.\n\nPlaying Our Part to Inspire the Next Generation\n\nIn the Classroom\n\nBack in 2013 (when I was still on my graduate scheme) and 2014, an opportunity to partake in the Engineering Masterclass initiative came through. This was organised by the Royal Institution, with the aim of introducing a younger generation to various skills. My particular classes both took place at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, with many pupils attending from many different backgrounds across the Manchester area.\n\nEngineering Masterclass Update\n\nI was flat out across multiple projects at the time, and was still cultivating my own personal abilities, but to me it seemed like a no brainer. I elected to give an introductory class on coding, and after considering the languages I had experience of at the time (C#, Python and Java), on top of visiting the school computer room to determine the development environments they offered, I elected to go with C#. As an aside, (despite my main language now being Scala) if I were to teach an intro class now, it would likely be in Python due to the easy setup, it being quick to get going, it's nice syntax and relative popularity. C# can be fiddly for teaching, especially without the right environment and infrastructure.\n\nC#\n\nPython\n\nJava\n\nScala\n\nLady deciding which software language to teach\n\nI took the classes two years in a row on Saturdays and they seemed to be received very well. The attendies warmed to the introduction, and because of my prior computer room reconnaissance (I ALWAYS expect things to wrong and thus try to prepare 😂), I was able to match the content to the equipment and infrastructure that was available. This meant that everyone was able to get set-up with minimal technical issues, and most of my time was spent answering coding-related questions. I have attached my class notes to this post if you want to have a gander 🤓. I wrote the first draft back in 2013, tweaked it for 2014 and haven't touched them since. At the time, I wanted to focus of the basic concepts and get the pupils started right away:\n\nBuilding Blocks\n\nVariables\n\nFunctions\n\nConditional Statements\n\nLoops\n\nApplication Formation\n\nApple on top of some of notes dug out of the collection 🤓\n\nI found the most important aspect of coding to get across is the mindset required to make a computer do what you want. Some of the pupils (who were less or not at all experienced) initially struggled with the instructional nature of writing software, meaning they found it more difficult to break up what they wanted to achieve into bite-sized, discrete instructions to present to a computer. Others who had experience but with other languages also had to get used to the quirks of a new language, which is understandable. If someone used to having conversations in English, it's wrong to expect them to boss a dialogue in Spanish after a relatively short introductory presentation 🤣! Once pupils got their heads around the quirks, they were able to do some really interesting things.\n\nLessons Learned\n\nTheir struggles really took me back to my first year C programming course at the University of York. It was the first time I had ever been exposed to coding 💻 and I really struggled to get my head around it during my first term. At one point I absolutely HATED it! Fortunately, it was when my friend finally explained to me the purpose of the return statement, I had an epiphany and never looked back. I wrote an archery 🏹🎯 game, an etch-a-sketch, an EXTREMELY poor mans Photoshop (destitute), a presentation platform (in a team) for bicycle 🚲 maintenance tutorials, along with a 3D stereoscopic environment for a platform used to rehabilitate stroke survivors during my time at University. One of my happiest University software moments was being able to help a friend who struggled initially with coding. Unlike me, he still HATES coding to this day so don't mention C anything to him 😂.\n\nUniversity of York: StroMoHab\n\nAfter initially finding programming challenging, Simon Ramzi back in 2011 with the StroMoHab at the University of York\n\nFrom my journey with software engineering, along with the humble beginnings, I can fully appreciate the need to be patient with newcomers. It's important to answer their questions as best and as patiently as possible, because you can help give them the power to do fantastic things when it just clicks. Certain subjects that are simple for you (because of your experience) might be very difficult for people to grasp first time the first time around (try to remember your early days). That was one thing I always appreciated about the lecturers and lab assistants at my Uni 🤓, they were always very helpful and seemed to get this.\n\nAnother aspect that helped was to lift everyone up and go the extra mile. I remember being approached after the 2013 class by one of the pupils looking to learn more from the experience. Through their parents, I was able to issue further work and guidance and even provide work experience opportunities through the company I worked for. This individual was VERY committed, performed exceptionally well (my colleagues were EXTREMELY impressed) and (still) absolutely smashes extra-curricular activities to this day. They even at the time, gave my programming in Python a run for its money 🤣! What was incredible is that they came back the following year for the 2014 Masterclass to act as a teaching assistant for the other pupils! I'm not ashamed to say they did a better job than me 🤓, and I was very proud at the time. They've since gone on to help various charities, which of course isn't at all because of me. It shows they too appreciate how important it is to lift up others.\n\nFinally, if your are going to volunteer your time to share your skills and expertise, ensure that you plan for the eventuality that things *WILL* go wrong and put in mitigations ahead of time. Don't allow for life-being-life to sour any experience you have of reaching out and teaching others. For example, if you need to use computers, ensure ALL required software is installed days before, and do a test run-through before the big day(s) to ensure everything is working as smoothly as possible. Try to visit your venue(s) ahead of time, and build your content around what is available rather than any grandiose visions of what might eventually be set up for the day. Keep it as simple as humanly possible, because more complications mean more moving parts. More moving parts provide more opportunities for something important to fail. Remember, it's about your message, skills and expertise, and not about putting on an incredible show.\n\nPerson giving a lady the initial help she needs to be successful\n\nIf you can't prepare as much as you'd like, visit the venue beforehand and things don't go completely to plan, please don't be disheartened. As long as you've provided excellent content for people to learn from, your efforts will be appreciated to some degree. The important thing is to plan ahead as best you can, and then go again and again. Whilst we can feel that things could always be better, remember that the experience could be invaluable to those around you. By sharing your expertise, you are helping others to help make this world a better place to live in.\n\nOur Future\n\nWhilst it is great for us individually to have skills and expertise, we can achieve so much more if we introduce and share what we know with those around us. By taking the time and being patient, we can bring through a whole new passionate generation that can really help us change things for the better. We should take the time to focus on the content and our message rather than being flashy and beforehand try to preempt the issues that may arise and put measures in place ensure our sessions run smoothly. I believe that more skilled and passionate people out there, we could bring about some really amazing improvements 😀.\n\nTake care and all the best. Si.