Cian, Google apprentice, Ireland

My name’s Cian and I’m from Drogheda in Ireland. I’m 20 years old. I’ve lived here all my life. I’m currently working as a software engineer apprentice at Google. When I was 11 years old, my dad came over to me and he was like, “Oh, friend of mine has set up this programming” — I don’t even think he said programming. I think it was just “computer club”.

I was a very shy kid, so I said no. And then a few minutes later, I was kind of going through the motions about it in my little 11-year-old head and kind of going, you know, maybe it’s not too bad of an idea. And, turned out, this computer club was actually the second CoderDojo in Ireland. Not going to lie, it was very exciting. I was introduced to web development; made my first website using basic CSS and HTML. And I made a website that talked about the planets and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. In fact, I actually still have that website saved somewhere.

But once I got on that, I was hooked. I literally went, “OK, so I can’t create anything I want in real life, right? But I can create anything I want on a computer.” I was completely set on programming from that point on. I specifically wanted to learn how everything worked. If you put Hello World on the screen, how does that actually happen? How does ‘Hello World’ actually appear in the terminal? That’s not magic. And once you learn how all that works, that’s, I think, when the cogs start going off in your head. And you’re like, “Wow, everything makes sense.”

It’s very difficult for me to find somebody who had the same interests as me. And when I went into CoderDojo, I started to develop my passion, and eventually that became my passion, and I got to share that passion. I opened up and my confidence is a lot better now and I think CoderDojo had a lot to do with that. Of course, there was a lot in between that and I had to teach myself a lot of stuff.

CoderDojo is really what made me go, “Wow, programming is an interesting topic and this is what I want to do for my career.” I reached out to the guy who started CoderDojo in Drogheda in 2011, and I actually thanked him. That was very important for me because I don’t have a university education. I was really lucky in that regard to have CoderDojo mentors mentoring me, and to encourage me to learn by myself and learn my own skills, and I’m still learning now. Regarding my own career, who knows what will happen? Who knows...could be anything.