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Learn to Code
Radio 1’s ‘Hack Stage Pass’

Created Thursday, May 7, 2015

Radio 1 has recently started trying to help people to┬álearn to code with their new game, Hack Stage Pass. ┬áThis is part of their ‘Make It Digital’ programme.

The idea behind this is to increase awareness of what coding entails, and the fact that if you just try it, you might surprise yourself and enjoy it! A lot of things in life that appear dull often have a purpose and can be made to be absorbing if dealt with in the correct manner. That’s where Radio 1 has come up with a smart idea: bridge the gap between something hugely popular like gaming, with the less popular and well known ‘coding.’

With the evolution of smartphones, tablets, and computers in general, coding is becoming ever more powerful and essential! By having a grasp of the thinking and problem-solving aspect to coding, learning a new coding language is a case of repetition and application with the context in which you are interested in. Speaking from experience, diving straight in and just trying things if by far the best way to learn code as you can see it’s purpose instead of tediously learning the language as a whole. This also helps you to learn little bits at a time!

As a trained graphic designer moving into the digital era, I realised very early on that developing coding skills would be a very valuable asset in being able to design effectively for digital. As print designers well know, you can only design well for a medium if you know the strengths and limitations it has.

Having had to teach myself code, and not having had any tuition from school, I can appreciate the bridge that needs to be crossed with those unfamiliar with code. We all leave school with skills in areas we weren’t that interested in, usually because we can’t see that particular discipline being useful in the real world. But how can we possibly possess an interest in something we have no concept of? That’s where Radio 1 has come up with a smart idea: bridge the gap between something hugely popular like gaming, with the ever evolving and infinitely useful world of coding!

Having tried the game myself, I must admit it’s very well done. It introduces the game with a familiar platform concept to grab the players interest, playing out various levels with DJs from Radio 1. Once you come across a problem, usually due to you not pressing something in time, it then lets you ‘problem solve’ and undo your mistakes – with code! These challenges and puzzles to complete use problem solving and simple code practises, such as basic numerical quantities and selectors, and very cleverly demonstrate how the code is used in real time by allowing you to play the game at the same time.

This concept is an inspired way to get more people into code. By having a platform people are used to using, it creates the context and realisation that coding is everywhere, and everyone can do it!

Check out and play the game at