Letterkenny CoderDojo Team Wins Prestigious Cisco Transatlantic Challenge

Students from the Letterkenny CoderDojo team won the Cisco Transatlantic CoderDojo Challenge recently, besting candidates from United States. The winning team was coached by employees of Pramerica Systems Ireland, a software and contact centre subsidiary of U.S.-based Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI) (NYSE:PRU).

The winners — Grace Doherty, Laura Young, Ciara Phelan, Patrick Dorrian and Mitchell Goudie —won for their entry, “Hit’n’Miss,” which was selected as the most innovative and novel project. The team implemented an online game that showed a sense of fun, and leveraged the data network and connectivity to the Internet. Even more impressive, the students designed, coded and released the game in less than a week. The team was supervised by Darren Gallagher and Martin Davies, platform engineers at Pramerica, and was mentored by several other Pramerica volunteers.

“We decided to work on a game rather than a chat server because games are more fun and they grab your attention,” said one of the winners, Grace Doherty.

The competition was developed to inspire students to create an innovative software project using the skills and knowledge they gained through CoderDojo, an international youth club movement that teaches children—ages seven to 17—about software, programming and technology. The Letterkenny CoderDojo was founded in 2012 by Pramerica and Cara House, a respite-care residential centre for the elderly.

“It’s critical we get young people excited about careers in technology and share with them the wonderful opportunities available to them,” said Gerard Grant, a vice president in information technology at Pramerica and executive sponsor of the Letterkenny CoderDojo program, which teaches nearly 100 young people how to code and develop websites, applications, programmes and games.

“Their victory shows what can be achieved from a very simple idea and group of committed volunteers; the kids really do appreciate the learning and the opportunity,” said Susan McCauley, a coordinator at Cara House.

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