Glasgow-based interface designer Paciencia Canda has been named ‘Scotland’s coolest techie’ in a competition which aims to challenge ‘computer nerd’ stereotypes and encourage young people to take an interest in IT as a career.
The competition, organised by Daisy Group and UK charity Computer Aid International, looked to find positive role models working in the UK’s IT industry, and will see 11 finalists – one from each region – put forward to battle for the title of ‘UK’s coolest techie’.
Web design specialist with passion for teaching
Canda’s role at Glasgow-based digital agency Equator is to work on new techniques to create exciting and interactive web pages and animations.
Specialising in web design and development, SEO, PPC, social media, affiliate and display marketing, Equator is one of the UK’s largest full service digital marketing agencies. It works with major brands including Disney, AXA Insurance, SSE, Tesco Bank and Malmaison.
A talented basketball player and guitarist, 24-year-old Paciencia Canda also visits schools to teach them about coding, and takes part in the British Interactive Media Association’s Digital Day project, visiting schools to teach children about what designers and digital agencies do.
Challenging geeky stereotypes
He said of the competition: “I think it’s a great opportunity to show what developers do and how interesting it is. You use a real range of skills, not just maths, and you have to be really creative.
“I think there’s probably a lot of young people who could have a brilliant career in IT but don’t pursue it because they’re worried about looking geeky, and that’s a real shame.
“One thing that young people don’t realise is that being in IT does not mean ‘eating and breathing’ code. We have time to do other exciting things, such as sports and travel.
“What we do in our spare time often helps us to do our job better because they too inspire us to develop fun and more engaging applications that people will want to use. Being able to draw upon lots of different influences is one of the best things about IT.”
Children get final vote
The UK’s coolest techie will be picked by children aged between eight to fifteen years old, with assistance from Bryan Glick, the editor of Computer Weekly, who will act as chair of the judging panel.
Glick commented: “I think it will be really interesting to find out first hand from children what they think makes the industry appealing, and whether having more exciting role models can better encourage them to work towards a career in IT.”
One of the child judges, 14-year-old Amy Dullenty, said: “I love his interests and that he helps others. He seems very creative and an all-round cool guy.”
Melissa Bateman, 15, added: “He sounds cool. He has lots of hobbies and wants kids to get involved in IT. He sounds really proud of what he does.”
The winner is set to be announced in April.