Young coders discuss their incredible work for MozFest

Little did I know that these two turned out to be much brighter geniuses than I had originally perceived - and also much, much younger.

Young coders discuss their incredible work for MozFest

After being involved with the Journey Round The Solar System in Virtual Reality, I approached the two workshop leaders, Cat Dunicliff & Sam Stuart, with the hopes of interviewing them about something they mentioned during the workshop - creating a fully functional app in four days. They called it Tempest.

As a consumer, I've been entirely isolated from the creative process behind developing, mainly because I'm used to being presented with fully packaged and functional mobile apps, so their endeavour drew my attention. Little did I know that these two turned out to be much brighter geniuses than I had originally perceived - and also much, much younger. Foolishly assuming that the two had probably just finished an impressive sounding degree or masters surmised from their intricate understanding and mature approach, I was genuinely taken aback when I discovered that Cat was 17 and Sam only 15 years old.

First I spoke to Cat, the leader of the workshop and the creator of the app project which was completed in four days, called Tempest. She spoke of how her passion came about for coding and how she learnt to code:

"When I was quite young my parents used to keep me away from computers a lot, so when one was finally put in front of me I just got addicted. About the age of nine, I started using stuff online to start teaching myself to code. I've never done any formal qualifications or anything like that, I'm entirely self taught" [sic].

Cat then went on to say that "once you know the basics, it's easy - but it does take awhile to learn the basics", to which Sam agreed, continuing on to say that "I learnt most of what I know through doing my own projects. If I get an idea, I'll just make it". He went on to talk about his own inspirations, explaining that his passions arose from his love of gaming, predominantly the popular game Minecraft. Sam, much like Cat, taught himself to code, singling out the book Visual Basic 2012, Step by Step at the age of 9.

What struck me most by them was that neither seemed to recognise the calibre of what their minds could create at such a young age. The two spoke to me of their previous night, beginning construction of their app at 11pm and finishing on the train up to the festival, with only an hour of sleep between them. Cultivating this kind of drive and talent is precisely what the Mozilla Festival strives to do and it gives me a profound hope for the future that young talent like this exists.


Sam Cartwright

Sam Cartwright Voice Reporter

I'm an 18 year old actor/singer working in the South East of England, currently represented by MIDAS Entertainment. As a keen actor wanting to gain as much experience as possible, I previously wrote, directed and produced my own piece shown at the Hove Grown and Brighton Fringe.

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