CodeClan Youth Academy
Introducing our interns to low-code, cloud, and more
Inoapps is one of the Scottish businesses hosting interns this summer as part of the CodeClan Youth Academy (CCYA), a new scheme providing young people aged 16 to 21 with coding skills and hands-on experience working in technology-driven businesses.
According to ScotlandIS, three-quarters of employers in Scotland are experiencing difficulties in recruiting qualified digital staff, which coincides with a 31 per cent reduction in computing education. And in particular, there’s a shortage of specialist entry-level talent. CodeClan has already supported more than 2,000 people in gaining skills to transform their careers. And here at Inoapps, we’ve recruited over 30 Codeclan graduates into a variety of digital roles as part of these schemes.
This August, Paul Merriweather (17) and Vedic Shiju (18) —Edinburgh and Linlithgow locals—have been working with us at our Linlithgow office. They’ve joined our VP of Technology, Dermot Murray’s team, alongside our Products Development Manager, Abhinav Anand, after doing a four-week intensive ‘coding bootcamp’ at CodeClan.
We caught up with Dermot, Paul, Vedic and Abhinav—mentor to Paul and Vedic during their time with us—to ask a few questions about the CodeClan scheme and their experience at Inoapps so far working with low-code, databases and cloud technologies.
How did you find yourself being part of CodeClan Youth Academy?
Paul: I'm 17 and just left the S5 school year, so I had a gap over the summer where I didn't have a lot to do. I'm looking to progress into a career in tech and I saw this opportunity with CodeClan, thought it looked quite interesting and applied for it—and got in and am really enjoying it! After this, I've got a graduate apprenticeship lined up with IBM in their development operations team, linked to a degree in software development at Edinburgh Napier University. This internship at Inoapps is a proper 9 to 5 job, four days a week. You're building up the workload here towards a future career, so it’s a great stepping stone and bridge towards that.
Vedic: I’ve just finished the S6 year, and found out about CodeClan through my teacher, who recommended it to me as something to do over the summer. I thought it would be interesting to work here on things like creating apps—this will be great experience to have on my CV. And as someone who went to Linlithgow Academy (and lives only a mile from the Inoapps office), I am definitely a local boy! After this I aim to study Computing at West Lothian College before heading to university next year.
What have you been doing so far here at Inoapps? Any special highlights?
Paul: For the first week or so it was about learning SQL, the language used to create databases. What Inoapps does is centred around databases and data management, so we spent our week going over that, learning SQL and created an Oracle Database to test our SQL statements. We’ve also been using Oracle APEX, ‘low-code’ software that allows you to quickly create things like apps.
Vedic: With APEX I find it easy to create an actual app rather than just spending time having to do things like coding all the buttons—all that stuff is prebuilt in there, so we can just use it. I find that really interesting, working in a low-code environment like that. You don’t need to create thousands of lines of code.
Dermot: All the work that Vedic and Paul have been doing has been using “next generation” cloud-based technologies. The guys have been using low-code cloud and tooling with Oracle APEX to rapidly develop apps. The productivity increase you can get by using cloud and by using low-code is huge.
Abhinav: This is really important. The guys came here with no Oracle background. They’ve been here two weeks and they are already building web applications. That shows the speed and power of cloud. All the time that goes into setting up environments and access—all that is gone. Obviously they're talented people themselves and there’s a lot of support that we are providing here too!
Dermot: And this is all based on Oracle Free Tier accounts. We are taking advantage of Oracle enabling free personal environments, so this is stuff they can walk away with when they leave us.
What are important qualities if you’re going to be good at this kind of work?
Paul: I would say perseverance because there's a lot of nitpicky work looking at things like errors where you need to have a high attention to detail because of the amount of data that you're dealing with. And I think you've got to deal with a lot of information at once because when you first open APEX, for example, there's a lot of things that you can do, there's so many options.
Vedic: … and I think it's updated every time as well.
Dermot: That’s really important because we're working in the cloud world, you are always on the latest versions of software, you're always security patched, just like you would be on your phone.
What we're showing here is that people with the ability to think logically, and have the ability to learn new tools and skills, then these people can very quickly develop valuable content. After two weeks of supporting learning, the guys are getting to the point where they can add value to Inoapps’ organization. That's really positive and a strong message. Wherever they end up working, the role will have some aspects of data. So learning core SQL skills, learning fundamental database skills and learning low-code tools means that even if they never work in Oracle again, the skills they’re learning here will be a solid foundation.
What’s next for the interns during their time at Inoapps?
Abhinav: A key focus for the tech team here Inoapps at the moment is the use of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). We’ve taken our strategic decision to move away from using native mobile apps to PWAs, and we have engaged the guys to explore some of the latest features that Oracle have offered. This has allowed them to do more with the PWA mobile apps with offline capabilities and push notifications—things you would expect from native mobile apps.
Dermot: What is really exciting is that we have projects and use cases that are looking for these exact types of capabilities right now. We have identified a real world business problem and use case, and we’ve set the guys the task of doing some R&D, working towards an outcome in the next couple of weeks. The plan is to be demo’ing the outcome to customers as soon as the team are finished – proving to Vedic and Paul how productive they can be in an Oracle world.
Watch this space for more from our CodeClan interns as they wrap up their time here with us!