Fueling programming skills whilst young


Created in 2017/18 by Nathan Damtew, an aspiring entrepreneur, B Blocky was an app developed to introduce kids to computer programming in a fun and interactive manner. It had a hundred levels each advanced when the learner gets a new skill. Yenetta Code was established in 2018/19.
Nathan believes computer code is the language of the future. He says it’s becoming just as crucial as reading and writing. He looks back at his own experience when he was first exposed to programming. He recalls that most of his classmates were learning about it for the first time. The university gave advanced courses so it was hard for the students to catch up. He never wanted to see another young person struggle with the same issues he did as a college student.
Yenetta Coding has taught more than 100 kids regularly at the center. The institution also throws events to introduce kids to coding and those events have had an outreach addressing more than 500 kids. The B Blocky app has been downloaded over 15,000 times around the world and anyone can find the app on googleplay.
The introductory part of coding isoften leant within 2-3 months. Yenetta uses pictorial representations for the lines of code used to solve problems, that way it could be easier for kids to learn. The kids are also taught to build games by coding them. They learn python, java and other programming languages. The classes run on Saturdays full day and also offers an after school program where the staff travel to schools and train the children. After the pandemic however, has forced the institute to give online classes as well.
The company now employs 10 with the team including a developer, content creator, and marketer. The company’s goal is to reach as many kids in the country and the continent. Nathan believes the biggest resource Africa has is its people and these people would be skilled because we’re moving into a digital era.
“It is important to build a digital economy with programmers. Ethiopia buys and imports softawares from foreign countries which isn’t too profitable in the long run. B Bloky was made to fit the platform of the growing mobile phone users and the company aims to reachg 18 million users by the next 5-10 years,” stated Nathan.
“The challenges that the institute has faced so far have been convincing parents to teach their kids things other than sports in their spare time,” he added elaborating that Yenetta as a whole urges the government to intergrate coding into the curriculum like other countries already have. Nathan adds that coding teaches kids life long skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity.