Algorand donation boosts Code Cayman’s tech education

Sean Ford, chief operating officer, Algorand with Code Cayman’s Brandon Caruana.
Sean Ford, chief operating officer, Algorand with Code Cayman’s Brandon Caruana.

Code Cayman, the non-profit learning network dedicated to supporting the growth of the local technology industry by ensuring that everyone can access the training, events and mentorship programmes to enter the sector, has received a US$20,000 donation from blockchain platform Algorand.

The donation will enable Code Cayman to expand its course programme, which in the past included introductory 12-week computer programming courses specifically for women and students, as well as youth coding summer camps.

“The idea is to demystify technology, everything from cryptography to artificial intelligence to actual coding,” said Brandon Caruana, who is running the initiative together with business partner Brian Tang from blockchain consulting firm Cartan, and corporate partners.

Caruana said the original Women Who Code course, in which 20 out of 33 women completed the programme and one found a job in the industry, generated the momentum to formalise Code Cayman.

The non-profit now has its own classroom and meeting space, with a new coding course for both men and women starting on 12 Feb. The next Youth Code is facilitated by programme partner Walkers and begins on 19 Feb. Walkers’ engineering team has designed an eight-week robotics course that will introduce students to HTML, CSS and Java Script and provide them with the knowledge to build VEX robots. TechCayman has donated 12 VEX V5 robotics systems for the course.

The donation by Algorand, which has a subsidiary in Cayman’s special economic zone will, among other things, enable Code Cayman to deliver a cryptography course.

“It speaks volumes that a company that is Boston-based with a presence at Cayman Enterprise City is also passionate about technology and willing to invest in Cayman,” Caruana said.

Sean Ford, chief operating officer at Algorand, said the programme reflects his company’s ethos to make technology as open and accessible as possible.

“Our blockchain is public and permissionless. By design it has a very low barrier to attract people to come and create assets, build apps and build businesses.”

Ford said the programme is also a first step to address the global lack of blockchain developers compared with traditional software developers, and an opportunity to invest locally.

“As a company, we want to make sure that we invest wherever we reside,” he said. “Code Cayman is a great way to light the spark.”

Caruana said Code Cayman’s goal is to turn the teaching and meeting room at Grand Pavilion into a space that anybody who has taken one of the courses can use for their coding projects. “We are next door and if you hit a roadblock, we are here to help you.”

Caruana hopes that Code Cayman will ultimately attract students to the technology space and help form the local start-up ecosystem.

In addition, the courses expose people who already have a career outside of computer programming to technology in such a way that they can offer a different perspective and add value in their profession, said Ford. “Even if their passion is not to code, they can change the basis of a conversation by bringing new aspects to strategy and the general direction of their organisation.”

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