Do you speak our language?

There is a time not far from now, where one of the questions people will ask you in an interview won’t be what qualifications you got at school, or what job experience you have, but what have you built? What have you created? How did you use the tools available to you to do something different?

This is a seismic shift in our world. The old truism that knowledge = power no longer holds because everyone with a connection to the web has the combined sum of all human endeavour at their fingertips.

So how do you stand out in a world where everyone knows everything? You learn to manipulate the building blocks of the digital world. You learn to speak code.

This week, we are celebrating EU Code Week; the biggest celebration of coding in Europe, bringing together schools, companies, community groups and non-profits across the continent to encourage young people all across Europe to get more involved in building their own future.

At Microsoft we are committed to helping young people build the future they want. We are committed to changing the false perceptions of coding as something geeky, too difficult and reserved for those employed in technology. So, on Tuesday, together with Facebook, Rovio, SAP and Liberty Global we launched a new coalition – The European Coding Initiative, which aims to encourage children and students to start coding through a unique pan-European online platform which will be available in five European languages. Teachers and students alike can access coding resources and training via the bespoke platform

It is crucial that we teach children across Europe key computational thinking skills from a young age; transforming computer science in schools from a marginal to a foundational subject. This battle has already been won in England, where computing is now compulsory for pupils from the age of 5. But across Europe, there is much to be done to ensure computing is given the same level of importance elsewhere. This coalition and other initiatives like it will help to bridge the gap between demand for skills and supply.

A key event – the first of its kind – taking place during EU Code Week is the final of the European Kodu Kup, which challenges children to create their own games using the Kodu, Microsoft’s specially designed simple, visual programming language. This new competition was developed by Microsoft for children aged between 7 and 14, following on from the success of the numerous national Kodu Kup competitions across Europe.

The 8 winning teams from this year’s national Kodu Kups (from Portugal, Finland, Norway, the UK, Belgium, Greece, Estonia and Lithuania) gathered together on Monday at the Microsoft Innovation Centre for a specialised two day European Coding Camp. You can find out more about the teams and their games here:

The final of the European Kodu Kup final took place during EU Code Week
The final of the European Kodu Kup final took place during EU Code Week

October 15, 2014


The final of the competition took place on Wednesday at the Microsoft Centre in Brussels; the teams came head to head in one final challenge before the PN Gaming team from Greece was crowned Champion of champions for their Mars exploration game “Behind the Red”. The impressive creation includes nine different missions through Mars across 3 action terrains, 9 levels, 195 lines of code and it took a whopping 270 hours of work to create.

Special congratulations also go to the UK team MADD HATT GAMES, who were crowned Masters of the Kodu Kup after their game, “Confined”, beat rivals in the 12-16 year old category of the competition yesterday. The futuristic adventure tasks the player with completing various tests to progress through the game to defeat an evil robot at the end.

UK team MADD HATT GAMES won the prize in their age group for their game "Confined"
UK team MADD HATT GAMES won the prize in their age group for their game “Confined”

October 15, 2014


Encouraging our children to try their hand at coding though initiatives like the Kodu Kup is just the start. Broader computational thinking skills which develop through learning computing can have a positive impact on children’s attainment across the board. We – industry, teachers, government and parents – need to make sure that we continue to strive to ensure every child across Europe is given amble opportunity to learn these vital skills. Never has there been a better time than today to get Europe’s children immersed in the world of technology.

For more information about EU Code Week and how you can get involved, visit