You may have seen our blog and recent press releases about the importance of coding in schools and programming the next generation of programmers. But where does this lead?

Learning coding at a young age can have a direct affect on employability and equips young people with skills that enhance their career prospects and helps them stay ahead of the game. apprenticeship logo Our blog on Raspberry Pi and coding at a local school can be found here and the Rugby Observer write-up (Page 11) here.

Below, two of our apprentices discuss the benefits (and challenges) of working in the evolving world of Open Source software at OpusVL.


Starting an apprenticeship in open source software was quite daunting to begin with. I'm still discovering the boundaries and possibilities of programming but at least now I'm beginning to look for them. One of my concerns probably came from my lack of understanding of what Open Source truly is which was quickly rectified by enthusiastic colleagues.

Seeing complete strangers collaborate on projects from different parts of the globe was both fascinating and inspiring. I may not have understood the majority of the information being passed along but it was important to see it working regardless.

There is a stunning amount that can be done considering that everything electronic has been made to work by programmers. It's both constructive and creative with very little considered out of scope. The problem solving itself preludes a steep learning curve: like any new field of work there's a new set of terminology, an index of techniques you need to memorise and getting to grips with tools of the trade. A transition that would've been much quicker and easier if I had the same opportunity as the youngsters today learning about raspberry pi's.

Working with a machine is more similar to working with an alien than any kind of person or even device considering that it talks back, corrects your mistakes and runs by itself half the time fulfilling requests we don't even have to understand yet still producing desirable results.

The learning environment at OpusVL was one I'll whole-heartedly praise. The best part is that it hasn't merely benefited me but the entire development team. All the developers are able to collaborate and discuss problems, solutions and their work with each other freely. An extension of the open source community itself, this freedom to discuss issues and work together to create results has the effect of greatly reduced time and stress on the developers.

The time at OpusVL has not only taught me key skills in the profession of programming but also revitalised a working ethic that was previously daunting due to uncertainty in the recent job market. I feel more companies should aspire to similar goals that enrich the experiences of employees and therefore bring greater returns and success for employers.


Prior to working at OpusVL, I used to do 'bedroom coding' to pick up skills but it didn't feel like I was doing enough. However, I found it difficult to find projects to work on with my limited knowledge. I wanted to be more involved in working with software but felt like I was stuck in a bubble.

At first I didn’t fully understand the reasons behind Open Source. But throughout my time at OpusVL, the company and my colleagues made me aware of the benefits of open source software and made me realise that it is not just for businesses but for communities too. Whenever I have encountered questions or problems, the community are all willing to share their answers, which is really positive and aides learning.

I find it easiest to learn through practice, and jumping in at the deep end has given me a sense of accomplishment at the end of each task. As mentioned before, I found great support in my colleagues/community who have all been only too keen to help. Being given the time to note all I have learnt whilst I go is useful for myself, and others if this information is ever to be passed on, in line with the spirit of open source and sharing with the community.

Working as an open source apprentice has many advantages although like any apprenticeship, there is a learning curve, as days can be spent on trivial tasks. There is seemingly a colossal amount to learn but at the same time it's motivating to gain a better knowledge base, so that difficult situations become easier to tackle.

Going back to my school days, I remember the monotony of ICT lessons. We never learnt about what was really happening under the hood. The fact that we are introducing coding in schools is really positive, and gives particular youngsters the facility to do what they really enjoy whilst learning important skills which enhance employability.

At OpusVL, we invest in capable young people, equipping them with the skills to really make a difference. The apprenticeship qualification is important, however, the real value is in the practical and applicable knowledge which enables our apprentices to deliver real value. We take great pride in giving back to the Open Source community that has enabled us to achieve so much.

Posted by Lauren Westley on 15/05/2015