Joining us in August 2017, Kenny brings a wealth of industry experience to CodeClan.
Where were you before coming to CodeClan?
Most recently I was working at the Amazon Development Centre in Edinburgh as a Senior Development Manager in the area of online advertising. I led a couple of teams there looking at personalised targeting of advertising and also using Amazon “big data” to provide insights for advertisers on their customers’ shopping behaviour on Amazon.
Prior to that I worked at Cisco for the 15 years on various engineering projects and eventually became Director of Engineering for the service fulfillment group. This team was based across Glasgow, Reading and Bangalore and its function was to deliver business critical solutions to some of the world’s biggest service providers such as Vodafone, Verizon, AT&T and Telefonica.
My career stretches back over three decades, right back to when I graduated from Paisley College of Technology (now University of West of Scotland) with an honours degree in Computing Science.
What was it that appealed to you about working at CodeClan?
The skills gap in Scotland’s digital tech industry is getting wider – it’s currently estimated there are 12,800 job opportunities each year – and it’s something I tried to address at Cisco and Amazon by hiring new talent and nurturing them.
I’d been aware of the work CodeClan had been doing since almost the very beginning and was cheering them on from within the industry.
I was impressed that more than 100 graduates had been placed in a job in only 18 months, a figure that’s now grown to more than 180. That’s an incredible success for a company that’s still less than two years old.
I also had the chance to personally meet some of the students in previous cohorts and hear their stories of how the CodeClan experience had changed their lives.
How could I not want to be part of the team doing such great work?
What does your day-to-day job look like?
My main duties involve ensuring that the instructor team delivers the best teaching and educational experience for our students. This involves ensuring we have the skills to teach the curriculum we can to give students the best opportunity to begin a new career in the digital industry.
I work very closely with our Head of Curriculum on ensuring this level of quality. This can also mean getting additional input and assistance from the industry on what and how we are teaching a subject.
However, CodeClan is very much a startup culture and like all startups you wear many hats. Everyone helps out everywhere if needed. I work with the student support team, help provide leads for employer partners, help out at the evening information sessions etc.
Do you think anyone can become a software developer?
I’m not sure everyone wants to become a software developer! What I know is that this course provides an alternative route for bringing in previously untapped talent from a variety of different experiences and backgrounds.
Many of our students knew nothing about coding before starting here, but they knew they wanted a new, more challenging, career and saw tech as a growing and vibrant sector.
Around 94%* of graduates secure a job within six months of completing the course thanks to the relevant skills that are passed on throughout the courses.
What makes the intensive course so popular with the industry?
Our curriculum is based on core skills, industry relevance and continuous evolution to keep up with the fast pace of the ever-changing digital technologies landscape.
We have industry members on our board who help shape the course and we’re constantly asking our partners for feedback and suggestions on the skills they see as vital to their businesses.
As someone who has recruited into this industry in the past, I know that the best teams that come up with the best solutions are where there is a diverse group of people with different backgrounds. Our employer partners are finding that our graduates bring so much into their teams.
What are some of your goals or targets for your first year at CodeClan?
CodeClan has achieved so much in its first 18 months but there is definitely a feeling that there is so much potential ahead of us. If I can borrow an Amazon phrase… it’s still Day One at CodeClan!
One target is to just continue to constantly improve and change the course to ensure it stays relevant to the industry we are serving. As an overall theme, we’d like to find ways to make this opportunity available to as many people as we can.
Looking at opportunities for people living outside the central belt of Scotland should be something we want to achieve.
And also pushing for additional funding options for students such as scholarships so that finance does not become a barrier to talent and opportunity.
If you have the raw talent, enthusiasm and drive to succeed in this industry, I want to find a way to get you there. You and the industry will both flourish from having that energy brought in.
Visit our careers section to find out more about working at CodeClan.