Meet the Ambassadors: Alja Isakovic, Slovenia

Over 70 EU Code Week Ambassadors from 34 countries are helping us spread the word about #codeEU throughout Europe. Who are they and why did they get involved in Code Week? We’ll be running a series of interviews and get to know them better. Our previous interviewee, Alessandro Bogliolo from Italy, interviewed Alja Isakovic from Slovenia.

 

 

Alja, who are you?

Geek, writer, runner, cat lover. By day, I work at CubeSensors, a hardware startup, and by night I try to get more people, especially women, excited about technology.

How does your country deal with this idea of code learning?

There has been a lot of progress in the last year. Computer science faculties in Ljubljana and Maribor are organizing more events to get kids, and even adults, excited about coding. This summer, we’ve had wonderful summer schools for kids of all ages. And in this school year, elementary schools will finally be offering an elective coding course to their students.

Our Ministry of Education is also supporting EU Code Week this year. The minister has just has sent out an invitation to all schools to get involved in Code Week. Hopefully, this will make even more teachers, students, and parents interested in the topic.

It is also worth mentioning that we have a lot of coding talent in Slovenia and a lot of great tech startups as a result of that. Startups have also been helping coding events with sponsorship and coaching in a big way. There is a lot of grassroots volunteering going on to help more people get into coding.

That being said, there is still a lot more we can all do. Funding is always tight, and I do think we still have the potential of reaching more people, especially women. Rails Girls workshops has received a lot of interest from women in our country, but unfortunately, it’s still very hard to get high school girls interested in coding.

Why are you involved as an EU Code Week ambassador? What do you expect from it?

I’m one of Neelie Kroes’ Young Advisors, who’s to blame for the whole initiative. When meeting with other Young Advisors, I was amazed at the number of great initiatives we have in Europe (Rails Girls and CoderDojo were started in Europe, for example), but we know so little about that. So, the initial idea was to start connecting all these great initiatives and by doing that to inspire more people to start their own initiatives or learn coding on their own or with a friend.

Last year was a surprising success, given the limited time we had to promote EU Code Week. And this year we’re aiming to go even bigger, create more buzz, and reach more people. I think we’re on a good track for achieving this!

Do you have a hero or someone that inspires you (can be a hacker or not)?

My CodeCatz, the coding group we started after doing a couple of Rails Girls workshops in Ljubljana. We meet every Wednesday for a few hours of coding and eating chocolate, and women are never in the minority.

This year, we took upon the task of building the events website for EU Code Week, and I’m super proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together. We’ve also become good friends in the process, and the drive the Catz have for coding and sharing their knowledge keeps on inspiring me to do more.