Encouraging Generation Z To Code, A Zeminar Account

Article by Aoife Kearins.

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the chance to speak at Zeminar.

Zeminar is a youth summit aiming to inspire and encourage generation Z which was held in the RDS, Dublin. The event was held over 3 days, with many high profile speakers such as Bressie and Lyn Ruane, with Maria Walsh as MC. I was speaking on Thursday morning, the last day of the event. I would have loved to have attended the other two days, but unfortunately, the Leaving Cert meant that I couldn’t miss three full days of school. I was following the event on social media on Tuesday & Wednesday and saw what great reception it was getting, and the buzz that had built up around it.

I was giving a talk entitled “Hello, world!” that was aiming to encourage young people to get involved with coding. In my presentation, I talked about the advantages of coding, the opportunities it presents and my own personal experience of all the doors coding can open. I tried to quash some stereotypes surrounding coding and what a coder should be, and also aimed to put across the point that you’re never too old to start learning how to code. I showed the impact of code in the world we live in today and pointed the audience towards some resources to help them learn how to program.

I was so nervous beforehand, as this was the first proper talk I’d given, and I was the very first speaker of the day. Despite the friendly organisers and copious amounts of tea backstage, I was still terrified. However, once I got out on stage and started talking it was absolutely fine, and I was so so happy with how it went.

The rest of the day was fantastic too. The whole concept and execution of the event was incredible, and I really enjoyed chatting to people at different stands all over the RDS, from universities to charities to youth groups. Listening to the other amazing speakers was phenomenal too, as well as getting to chat to them all backstage during the day too.

Zeminar was an amazing experience, and I expect to see it gain more and more momentum in the future. It was a privilege to both attend and speak at the event. I would really encourage any young person to attend Zeminar next year, if they get the chance, and to check out the videos of the speakers from this year’s event once they’re posted online in the next couple of weeks.