Microsoft’s #WeSpeakCode campaign aims to empower young people across Asia Pacific to learn coding and realise their potential. We spoke to several individuals who are passionate about coding and involved in encouraging others to discover the fun and excitement of learning to code.
From developing an app that helps users manage meetings to experimenting with the latest techniques in augmented reality, Fiandra Fatharany is one of the many young coders who are leading the charge to transform the technology landscape in Indonesia.
Fiandra attended Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, which is located in Surabaya, East Java, and emphasises scientific, engineering and technological education and research. As part of Team DigiD2 during last year's Indonesia Imagine Cup competition, she worked with her teammates to create an app that complements therapy sessions for children with developmental disabilities. Fiandra has big plans to build on her passion for coding, and to foster collaboration among the growing community of aspiring Indonesian coders.
In your opinion, what is the best way for young people to get started coding?
As an avid gamer, my interest in coding started when my brother and I wanted to create our own games. I was surprised to find that the logic behind coding languages was not as difficult as I had thought, and I was able to learn how to use code to modify my game creations. It helps that I had an amazing computer science teacher in my high school, who taught us how to code with simple Pascal programming. With the abundance of learning resources available online, I think coding is actually one of the easiest skills to pick up in today's digital age. All it takes is having the interest and determination to learn!
Can you share with us your experience at the 2014 Imagine Cup, as a member of Team DigiD2?
I got involved with the CAKRA app project when one of my teammates approached me to support them during the build-up to the Imagine Cup competition. I was inspired by the app idea developed by our team leader Muhammad Rizky Habibi, which is aimed at helping children with developmental disabilities gain access to the treatment they need, regardless of their economic background. Building the app was never about money or fame. Our team simply believed we could make a genuine difference with the CAKRA app, which is named after our partner CAKRA Autism Center.
How have you managed to integrate the latest technology into the app development?
CAKRA is designed to integrate interactive technologies that help develop an autistic child's motor and occupational skills. We made it a point to consult a therapist throughout the app development process. Microsoft Kinect was the best technology platform available to detect the user’s movements and support voice recognition functions. Kinect has been a really powerful tool for us to realise the interactive capabilities of our app.
Are there any other app development projects that you are currently involved in?
As part of my undergraduate thesis, I am currently focusing on the use of augmented reality to develop an app that can help users overcome their phobia of insects such as cockroaches. I chose this topic to build up my knowledge in the field of human-computer interaction, especially through leveraging augmented and virtual reality technologies.
What would you tell other young women to encourage them to learn coding?
My heartfelt advice would be to follow your passion, because you’ll never know where your efforts might lead you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a male or female coder. The only thing that counts is your competency and love for coding, and what you want to achieve with that skill.