Empowering the Next Generation: A Conversation with Dimple Patel, Key Teacher in the International Kids Coding Bootcamp, on Inspiring Young Minds to Code 

3 min read — October 31, 2023

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Empowering the Next Generation: A Conversation with Dimple Patel, Key Teacher in the International Kids Coding Bootcamp, on Inspiring Young Minds to Code

By Marta Rosa Spiga

Dimple Patel is a seasoned Senior Test Engineer with over a decade of experience in Quality Assurance. Based in London, UK, Dimple's passion for technology dates back to her early years, despite not having studied computer science at university. Recently, she embarked on a journey of tech volunteering, teaching programming to children, with a particular focus on inspiring young girls to explore the world of coding.

Dimple, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background in technology?

Certainly. I'm Dimple Patel, and I've been working in the field of Quality Assurance for more than ten years. While I didn't major in computer science during my university years, my fascination with technology has been with me since childhood.

That's great to hear. What motivated you to start volunteering, especially in teaching coding to children?

I began volunteering in tech during the pandemic as a way to contribute my skills to those in need. When the opportunity to teach programming to children arose, I was eager to participate. I taught myself HTML at the same age as these kids, and I knew how much I would have valued a class like this. It was also important to me that the girls in the class had a female teacher as a role model to show that a career in engineering is entirely achievable for women.

It sounds like a wonderful initiative. Did you enjoy the experience of running these coding lessons?

Absolutely, it was a tremendously rewarding experience. The children's engagement with the lessons, their humor, enthusiasm, and creativity were truly heartwarming. The most satisfying part was witnessing the webpages the children created by the end of the lessons. I hope they've been inspired to continue developing these skills.

What would you say is your biggest takeaway from teaching these coding lessons to children?

My main takeaway is not to underestimate what children can learn. Writing code might seem challenging, but it's entirely attainable for kids. The key is to prepare the lessons in a way that's accessible to children, encourages them to explore on their own, and lets their creativity shine through so that they have fun while learning.

Can you provide any updates on the new projects you're working on, and why do you think more people should volunteer, particularly in encouraging girls to learn these skills?

Following the success of our initial course, we're rerunning both Scratch lessons and an Introduction to HTML and CSS throughout October and November. We aim to involve more children from around the world, giving them the opportunity to learn about each other's countries and cultures while mastering coding. The younger children, starting from age 8, will focus on the drag-and-drop programming language Scratch, while the older or more advanced children will dive into the world of HTML.

Learning how to code can sometimes appear intimidating or impossible when attempted alone. Free classes like these remove any financial barriers and provide much-needed encouragement and support to children. I believe that having a diverse group of volunteer teachers with different skills and backgrounds will greatly benefit the children. They get to see the various career paths available to them in the future, and which areas might pique their interest the most.

In the UK, women make up only about a quarter of the tech workforce. It's of immense value for the girls attending these classes to be in a supportive environment where they can build their confidence with technical skills. When they see women in tech teaching them, it becomes evident that such career opportunities are within their reach. Encouraging diversity through a mix of students and teachers creates a culture where diversity is celebrated and women in tech is the norm.

Dimple Patel's commitment to teaching coding and empowering children, especially young girls, is a shining example of how technology professionals can make a significant impact beyond their daily work. Her efforts inspire and provide opportunities for the next generation of tech enthusiasts.

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