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Coding 101: How Salt Communications Employees Go Into Coding

World Coding Week - How SaltDNAs employees got into coding

Did you know that it is National Coding week?

Having been set up in 2014, National Coding week is an entire week where you can get free access to resources in order to learn new digital skills, including coding. Such free services are accessible in a wide variety of locations like librariescollegescompanies – anywhere you can think of. Running the full week beginning 14th September 2020, National Coding Week offers people with the opportunity to expand their existing knowledge or learn some new skills.

We’ve asked some of our employees what got them into coding:

Sean Ashmore- Android Lead

“My path into this career probably isn’t the typical “I learned to code in assembly by the time I was 3” type story. I was generally quite ‘tech-y’ growing up, messing around with electronics projects and learning about audio equipment and computers from my dad. I regularly messed around on our old Amstrad 1512 PC which was pretty outdated by the time we had it, running MS-DOS and allowing you to boot into Windows, but it ran games which is probably where I spent most of my time.

My first coding experience would have been copying BASIC programs from the manual into my Commodore 64. After that I pretty much forgot about coding; I didn’t take ICT for GCSE or A-Level (four years of MS Office and WordArt didn’t appeal to me) but generally had an affinity for computers and gaming and would make really terrible websites using Netscape Navigator (look it up) and eventually in HTML/CSS.

Like a lot of 18 year olds, I had no clue what I wanted to do after my A-levels and didn’t have grades that gave me a lot of options so I went back to do some more exams for a year and ended up doing software engineering at Ulster University Jordanstown where they started us on C. I took to coding instantly and knew that’s what I wanted to focus on. I spent my third year doing a placement at Microsoft in Dublin where I learned that testing was definitely not where I wanted to spend my career. The software industry in Northern Ireland had begun to boom by the time I graduated and I was able to start a job as a junior developer after I finished. That was about 10 years ago and the industry has continued to grow, now employing over 2 million people.”

Patrick Keehan- CTO & Founder

“So a long time ago there was a computer called the C64. 8-bit with a cassette player for loading games. Crazy coloured lines were shown on the screen as games seemed to take an absolute age to load. The games, for that time, were ncredible. Around that time there was also a weekly magazine called INPUT that was published over two years and it covered all kinds of computer topics from BASIC to Assembly language. We would spend days typing in BASIC listings. The whole thing was amazing and I was completely hooked.”

Chris White- Placement Software developer

“I initially was introduced to programming while in school, I was interested in building websites so in my spare time I used a website called CodeAcademy to learn HTML and CSS and through this website I was introduced to programming languages such as PHP. I then started using Ruby on Rails to make simple websites which was quite fun as I could put what I learnt into practice. Once I came to university I started learning about other programming languages and in my placement year here at Salt Communications I began to learn about mobile development.”

Michael Bole- Product Manager

“I got my first taste of coding in grammar school where I worked on a few basic projects in computing class, and a web project or two in IT class. After graduating high school I took up Interactive Multimedia Design (IMD) at University. Although the course was mainly design based, I continued to learn about front-end development and a mix of back end languages and API’s. This helped to set me up in a hybrid design / front-end dev role when I graduated, something I thoroughly enjoyed and have continued to do to this day. I occasionally like to hone my skills with the odd side project to ensure I keep up with the ever evolving industry.”

Martine McGrath- Junior Designer

“I studied Interaction Design at University where the scale ranged from designers to coders. Many tasks required both, where you could focus on your strengths and put your main efforts into your preferred area. My projects were always quite design heavy, and although I coded multiple basic websites, it wasn’t until I joined Salt Communications that I really explored coding and website development.

During my first week I was tasked with designing and building a website. At that time all I knew and was used to was hand coding websites with primarily HTML and CSS. However, having guidance from the development team and their help with more complex coding I’ve been responsible for multiple website design and development projects over the years. During these years I’ve learnt some different programming languages, implemented frameworks and web layout models into my code, used template engines, used CMS’s to manage websites and my coding knowledge and abilities continue to grow.”

We’ve summarised some of the best resources and sites to get involved in this week: – A great structure to take your through each module, building responsive pages’ step-by-step and it’s free. – A meet-up learning session for people from different locations and backgrounds to come together at both ends of the spectrum from beginners to senior mentors to give you the opportunity to learn from others. – This course is run by University of Bath, an immersive coding experience run by guests and technical authorities to get you started. – One of the largest online courses platforms, not only for coding but also other topics you may be interested in. – Another online tutorial coding platform, covering every script, system, library you may think of. Their emphasis is on knocking down all possible technical obstacles and allowing everyone with the ability and access to a computer to learn to code. – A full syllabus, mainly focused on frontend development to get you started. Each module has around 300+ hours of content to choose from.

Each of these pages, organisations, and associations have a common aim of allowing people to join the coding community. Providing tools for the next, wonderful wave of entrepreneurs, those that wish to upskill, those with an undiscovered interest, and others that have addressed a problem that doesn’t even exist yet.

For more information on this article, or to talk to a member of the Salt Communications team, please contact us on

About Salt Communications

Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit our website.

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