How We Learnt To Code, Build An App and Make Money From Social Media


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On Saturday 17th October Rise To (and a selection of young people who use the site) attended Upload Live hosted by Freeformers to learn about all things digital. Freeformers are a digital transformation company who train the staff of corporate companies but with a great twist – for every business person they train, they educate a young person for free. An array of digital trainers were on hand to teach us about code, app building, online security and how to use social media productively. This particular event was backed by Barclays who took part in everything throughout the day (Find out more about Barclays Digital Eagles and Barclays Accessibility here). Read on to see what we learnt…

Not one to miss a trick, Rise To wanted to find out more and Freeformers not only invited us along, but invited Matt our Operations Manager to do a speech. He addressed the room to discuss the gap between education and the workplace and how providers like Freeformers, Rise To and Barclays can work together to help young people to boost their skills. Fitting then, that the members of Rise To previously had no clue how to code or build an app and even learned a thing or two about security and social media online….

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Workshop 1: Coding

Session one was a fast track course in how to code. We only had an hour to learn the basic language of the web: HTML and CSS, but in that time we created a responsive about me web page with links, pictures and coloured text. We could even download an app that would let us view this from our mobile anytime we wanted. Here is Rob’s brilliant effort below (check out that beard…)


Workshop 2: Lab

Got an app idea that could rival Uber but you don’t have the money or workforce to achieve it? The solution is simpler than it seems! In the second session we learnt how to build, measure and then learn from the app creation process. We started by identifying a problem we encountered every day and created a solution. We had our eureka moment: Beat The Rush, a transport app that syncs with your alarm and notifies you when your selected mode of transport to work, school or where ever is busy, delayed or cancelled. We then created a wireframe process where we drew the key steps of the user journey and plugged them into a great app (Marvel) to make them interactive. Finally we presented to the group to get their feedback – they loved it. You can thank us when it gets released. P.S. A Rise To app is coming very soon…


Workshop 3: Security

You’re in a cafe, you log into the wifi and enter your password to access your emails. Sound familiar? It’s something we do everyday but once you connect to a shared network your information is there for any hacker to see. Freeformers showed us how easy it is to pull information from shared networks. But they also showed us how to protect against such infringes. For example, password checker is a free tool that will help you create a password that will take a bot 100 trillion years to crack. Other tips include if you’re browsing the internet and get asked for a log in, make sure the URL for the website has https:// in front of it that way you know it is secure. Finally if you have trouble remembering passwords, but you don’t want to use Password01 for everything (because…well…you know that’s not safe right?) then LastPass remembers all of your passwords and allows you to use one password to access them.

Workshop 4: Social

The final session focused on how you could use social media to enhance your online presence and make a bit of money in the process! To do this they taught us how others had grown their social media presence simply by being themselves and being active. Want to know how you’re connected to people you’re emailing? Discoverly lets you see who you know that knows them so you can get your foot in the door (hey I noticed you know bob….). Finally what would a workshop on social be without a selfie competition? Here’s our entry:


We left the event feeling engaged, excited and about a stone heavier due to the lunch and goodie bags provided. But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s a quote from Kewe, a Rise To user who came along:

“Saturday’s Upload Live event was informative and engaging,  I loved that it was an hands on experience and enjoyed the coding session the most. The lab session was also good fun as it allowed for our creative juices to be activated as we were split into teams and encouraged to create an app”

We’ll inform you of the next Freeformers event through our live chat service, but if you want to keep an eye out for any other events including how to become a social media master check out our opportunities page here

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