Sammie D. Kaleland

Code! Test! Iterate! Ship! While many Medallians had already headed home for the day, a group of dedicated engineers continued to flex their coding muscles at HQ in Palo Alto. They were collaborating. They were crushing their keyboards. They were building a website from scratch.

But it was almost bedtime for these little ninjas. Welcome to their CoderDojo.

Filing into the same auditorium where Medallia announces company milestones and hosts extra large happy hours, the pint-sized engineers (and the parents who had signed them up) grabbed a slice of pizza, opened their laptops and started doing what 6 to 11-year-olds do: surf the web looking for memes while gchatting the funniest ones to the friends next to them. As the room filled up and the minutes until the basic HTML class passed, members of our Engineering team prepared for their role in the lesson: after spending their day behind their screens, they would emerge as mentors for the Medallia-hosted CoderDojo.

It may have been their first time working with this volunteer-led movement, but its mission of giving kids exposure to coding (that school districts can’t or won’t provide) was inspiring enough for a half dozen of our engineers and a handful of volunteers to happily spend a Wednesday evening getting involved. And get involved they did.

While a bystander may have simply marveled at the group of thirty-odd kids exploring all the different elements used to build out a website focused on their superpower of choice, the volunteers rolled their sleeves up alongside them. Our Principal Engineer helped a girl conquer cascading style sheets, our Lead UI Engineer assisted in making a colored background easier to read, and our VP of Engineering dropped in to chat with a tech-savvy few who wanted to go straight to embedding user manipulable animations.

Over the course of two hours, these Medallians circled the room, answering questions, asking their own, and watching a few lines of tentative code blossom into multi-dimensional websites listing the benefits of everything from time travel to Herculean strength. At the end of the class an eager cohort of coders lined up to share their super sites and dream powers with their peers; and though they may not have realized it, they were strengthening a super power of their own.

This super power is increasingly the language of the future, the instructions that guide the devices and services we use every day. Our engineers — whether from India, China, Argentina or Pennsylvania — have spent years devoted to learning its universal ins and outs and know its infinite capabilities. Many of the rest of us grown-ups were steered in different directions as children and might not ever fully grasp the magic behind everyday technologies. But today, more and more organizations like CoderDojo are giving young coders early exposure to the backend of our digital universe, and by doing so, they’re creating the largest generation of passionate engineers, ever. Helping make this happen was an opportunity our engineers couldn’t miss. And one they’ve already committed to repeat.

Until next time,

Sammie A. Kaleland