Written by: Niamh Scanlon EU Digital Girl of the Year 2016

Coding cool apps, websites, games and robots is an amazing thing to do in itself, but sharing what you have created with tech is even better! And the Coolest Projects Awards is what that’s all about.

The Coolest Projects Awards is a day for young people from all over the world to showcase a project they have made using skills they learned at CoderDojo, a global network of free coding classes.

I started to learn to code in CoderDojo when I was nine, and I’m 13 now. At CoderDojo in Dublin City University (DCU) I have learned HTML, CSS, javascript, node js and even how to program a Christmas tree bauble!

I am also a mentor (helper) at CoderDojo Girls in DCU and in Dojo Scratch DCU. Before I began to mentor, I didn’t know anything about Scratch, but because of mentoring that class, I have learned Scratch. That’s the great thing about mentoring, you not only get to help other people to learn, you end up learning lots yourself too.

You also learn loads when you take part in Coolest Projects. In 2013, for Coolest Projects I made a website called Learn To Code, that taught people how to code. I thought people who didn’t live near a CoderDojo could use it. It went on to be a part of EU Code Week in 2013!

In the 2014 Coolest Projects, I entered my app reCharge My eCar. The app shows people who use electric cars where all the charging points for electric cars are in Ireland, and whether the are being used or not, in real time.

Because of reCharge My eCar and the Coolest Projects 2014, I got to talk at the WebSummit in front of 5,000 people, visit the Brown Bag Film Studios, spend three weeks in London learning about running a STEM business and won two eir Junior Spider Awards! The app also helped me win an award of EU Digital Girl of the Year 2015/2016.

In 2015, there were more than 500 projects entered in the Coolest Projects. I entered my app Auto-Journalist, that helps journalists and interviewees that are busy or live in different time zones. The journalist sets up the questions and sends them to the interviewee, then when the interviewee is ready, they can record themselves on the camera on their phone answering the journalist’s questions – all of this can be done through the app. Last September I got to go over to Amsterdam for a hackathon (a day-event of coding your project) to develop Auto-Journalist even further.

The main thing to remember about The Coolest Projects Awards is that it’s not about how much you’ve done with your project, it’s about sharing the coolness of your idea! And that is what makes the Coolest Projects amazing for me.