Members of CoderDojo Mullingar in a session earlier this year.

CoderDojo Mullingar accepting new members - and volunteers

CoderDojo Mullingar is accepting new members at all levels (and volunteers), from Saturday October 7.

A CoderDojo is a club, not a school. There’s no exams or homework – although, as with any skill, practice is important. Not everyone who attends goes on to a career in tech or STEM but it’s a chance to give it a try in a relaxed, supportive environment and maybe make some new friends.

It’s part of a global network of clubs with similar aims.

A Dojo is a free, volunteer-led, community-based programming club for young people. Anyone aged seven to 17 can visit a Dojo and learn to code, build a website, or create an app or game.

CoderDojo exists to help young people realise that they can build a positive future through learning to code, and because:

• Having an understanding of programming languages is already useful, and becoming more so, even with the rise of AI;

• It is easier to learn these digital skills early;

• Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to code, regardless of personal circumstance.

Like any club, joining a Dojo is a great way to meet new people with similar interests, but CoderDojo also helps people to learn skills that are becoming more useful and valuable every day.

For those in post-primary education, it’s a great way to support the Short Course in Coding at Junior Cert level, or Computer Science on the Senior Cycle, OR as a way to earn points towards a ‘Gaisce’ award either as a learner or as a volunteer.

The club like to try new things and this season (23/24) is no exception: beginner sessions will be shortened to one hour, boys 11am-noon and girls noon-1pm. Returning members or new members with a bit of experience can come in for the full two hours.

New members at all levels are welcome. It’s free, and there are some spare PCs available if you don’t currently have one of your own.

Computers don’t care if you’re a girl, a boy, somewhere in-between or haven’t made your mind up yet. So there’s no harm in giving it a try if you’re available between 11am and 1pm on a Saturday.

Club meetings are in Forest Park (just off the road on the way to the Joe Dolan Bridge).

The club gained some great new team members this year but are also always open to volunteers.

Volunteers do not need to be coders or to have any technical background.

Training will be provided where necessary, but they still especially need more women and girls in leadership and mentorship roles.