Waikato brothers win ICT award for Code Avengers
03 July 2017
Two recent graduates of Waikato University have beaten off some stiff competition to win a prestigious award at the CIO Summit, held in Auckland 13-14 June.
Brothers Adam, 27, and Michael Walmsley, 32, won the award category of 'Engaging Youth in ICT' for their innovative Code Avengers platform, which takes a gamified approach to teaching secondary and tertiary students how to code.
The other finalists in the 'Engaging Youth in ICT' award category were Air New Zealand, MYOB and Snapper Services.
Adam Walmsley graduated from a Bachelor of Management Studies (Marketing and Finance) at Waikato in 2015.
His older brother Michael graduated from a Bachelor of Engineering (Software Engineering) in 2009, before graduating from a PhD in Computer Science last year.
The idea behind Code Avengers is to revolutionise the way computer science is taught in schools, and make learning computer code more fun for young people interested in constructing games and apps.
“The courses are ‘gamified’ to keep the attention of teenagers who struggle to find time for homework, but always make time for computer games," says Michael, who taught himself how to write code at 12.
“At the moment about only 20% of high school teachers are comfortable teaching the new programming standards, and are looking for a support resource. That’s where Code Avengers comes in."
The brothers hope to switch more young people on to the idea of a tech start-up career.
“IT is a growing industry, but it’s not enough just getting people to study IT, it’s about getting the right people, and to do this we need to make things like learning to code fun."
"The number of opportunities for using coding skills is only going to increase, and going to increase across a broader number of industries."
Around 1.5 students across the country have completed lessons using the platform since it was launched in April 2012.
Half of New Zealand's high schools now use Code Avengers in their digital technology programmes, and in the last three years 7,500 business students have used it as part of their 1st year business course at the University of Auckland.
Also involved with Code Avengers is recent Bachelor of Management Studies graduate Jordan Herbert (Finance and Spanish), whose role is responsible for business development in Latin America.