While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we’re changing things up for December. This month, we’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.
For Brandon Caruana, Code Cayman’s role is pretty clear.
“Demystifying technology,” he said.
The digital divide in Cayman, which has been highlighted throughout the Cayman 2.0 series, has created a ripple effect that can be felt from education to employment. Caruana says the point of Code Cayman’s offerings is twofold: educate adults to become more tech-savvy and introduce younger people to the tech world that potentially could lead them to a career in a related field.
“The best education does not need to be in-person at Stanford or MIT anymore,” Caruana said, adding that the non-profit is structured for flexible schedules and in-person assistance that people might not get at a large university or through online learning.
21 people in 2021
It all started, he said, from a small class of women who were interested in learning about technology. The course was well-received and so Code Cayman put on a few more ad hoc classes before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Cayman.
“Then, of course, lockdown happened and everything fell apart,” he said. “When we came out of lockdown, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. Did we lose all the momentum?”
So Caruana and his team put it to the test. They offered one course on Excel training and wanted to see how many people would sign up.
Registration was filled within a day.
They offered another course and it, too, filled up within a day. A third offering was full within two days.
Momentum, it appears, was not lost. The problem now is a good one: too much interest.
Code Cayman’s offerings are free and the organisation relies heavily on corporate support to keep the programme alive.
In 2021, Code Cayman plans to offer a blockchain course with the support of Algorand – a world leader in blockchain technology – as well as ‘second versions’ to build off of some of its previous offerings. He says small groups of people can do big things in the tech industry, pointing to Instagram’s team of 13 people developing the product to the point where it was sold to Facebook for $1 billion. He also says location is no issue. Both of those points bode well for those in the Cayman Islands.
Caruana is particularly excited about the possibility of offering Google Career Certificates to local students. He says Code Cayman is trying to work with Google on offering the certificates locally.
“That way, anybody that gets a Google certificate from Code Cayman’s collaboration space – you still get the certificate from Google, it’s not us that provides it … can get a job at Google and be a certified Google engineer.”
Whether it’s through a path that may lead to a career or someone just wanting to learn more about a particular software, Caruana sees Code Cayman as playing a pivotal role in enhancing tech-related knowledge for Caymanians and expatriate residents.
“We’re not going to pretend we’re the experts in education. We’re not. We’re not even an education provider,” he said.
“The reason why I’m so passionate about making sure [Cartan Group, Caruana’s fintech management company] is next door to Code Cayman is because I want that glass wall to be break. I don’t want young Caymanian students to see that cool career in technology and don’t know how to get there.”