University takes part in code record attempt

Plymouth University may be entering the record books as part of a nationwide event designed to teach people how to code.

BCSWomen – part of BCS The Chartered Institute for IT – organised a marathon app-building session attended by more than 1,000 people at 30 venues across the country.

The events – including one at Plymouth University – aimed to get the largest number of people simultaneously learning to code an Android app but were also to encourage young people, particularly girls, to consider a career in IT.

Each of the sessions was led by a woman and supported by volunteers who taught the participants how to build apps using technology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Plymouth event was led by Dr Ismini Vasileiou, Lecturer in Information Systems within the University’s School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics.

Open to all ages and abilities, it was attended by more than 30 people and featured over an hour of talks, activities and practical work.

Dr Vasileiou, nominated for the Women in to Science and Engineering (WISE) Awards in 2012 and 2014 in recognition of her efforts to inspire women and girls to pursue study and careers in the sciences, said:

“As a woman working in a male dominated environment, I hope my involvement will be something of an inspiration both within the University and in the wider community. Such events are evidence that Plymouth University is creating opportunities for women and girls and breaking down any perceived stereotypes. To have attempted to set a world record was a fantastic experience for me, the University and of course all those who took part and could become the app designers of the future.”

BCSWomen has now submitted the details of the record attempt to Guinness World Records and is awaiting the official result.

Gillian Arnold, chair of BCSWomen said:

“To have attempted to set a world record is a fantastic achievement that can be attributed to the hard work and determination of our BCSWomen members and all the locations’ volunteers. The lack of women entering the industry is a very real threat for UK plc, and women represent just 16 per cent of IT professionals. By having a woman lead the sessions, we hope to have inspired many young women and demonstrated to them and their parents what an exciting and rewarding career IT can be.”

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