Hacker School: "I want to break down barriers and create a sense of achievement"


The Hacker School inspires children and young people throughout Germany with low-threshold courses. The aim: to write a line of code before it's time to choose a career. Haufe Group also cooperates with the Hacker School: in March 2024, our IT professionals taught 30 young people how to program as "Inspirers". We asked Inspirer Laura Wächter about her personal motivation.

Laura, how did you get into programming?

Laura: It took me until my studies to really enjoy it. I only had one year of computer science at school, where we created Word documents and that was it. I would definitely have liked a format like Hacker School. At that age, I was still convinced that computer science or math wasn't for me. Also, because our teachers often failed to create an interesting and understandable approach.

How did you still come to deal with machines, IT and programming during your studies?

I am a person who has always wanted to know how things work. Like Sesame Street - who, how, what, why? I studied cognitive science and got hooked while attending an exciting panel discussion on the development of social robots that interact with humans.

"Suddenly I knew what I was doing and why, and I quickly had a sense of achievement. That motivated me immensely."

This then led to the desire to work in the field of human-machine interaction. I therefore placed a stronger focus on computer science and programming during my studies. I suddenly had concrete access to a world that had previously seemed very abstract to me. I knew what I was doing and why, and I quickly had a sense of achievement. That motivated me immensely.

Why is it so important to be able to code these days?

Our world is increasingly dominated by technology. If you can code, you are not only able to understand this digitalized environment, but also to help shape it. Coding trains many key skills: thinking logically and critically, approaching problems systematically, but also being creative! Code is nothing more than a language with which we can express ourselves and put ideas into practice, whether in the form of a website, a game or an application.

Today you are a UX/UI designer - how much programming and IT topics do you deal with in your day-to-day work?

I rarely have to program actively, but my background knowledge is valuable. When I work with my developer colleagues, we speak the same language, which makes the work much more efficient. Even during the design process, I can often make a rough estimate of what is technically realistic and therefore get feedback in good time before my team loses time.

Why did you want to take part in the Hacker School?

The honest answer is: I found the Hacker School interesting, but was still undecided whether I could find the time. Out of curiosity, I looked at the registration list and only saw male colleagues. My first impulse was: that's not possible. I wanted to show the girls that women can also program. In fact, it really were the girls who expressed concerns at our Hacker School weekend that they don't like math and computer science. One group of girls often came to me specifically for help and feedback. That showed me that it was right and important for me to be there as a woman.

"As a company, we have the opportunity to make a lasting impact and use this influence - I think that's great."

Apart from your role as a woman, why do you think it's important to get children and young people interested in IT topics?

I want to take away the fear of these seemingly abstract topics at an early age, break down barriers and create a sense of achievement. I know from my own experience that the school and private environment cannot always do this. I'm therefore very proud that Haufe Group is involved in the Hacker School and I'm also busy telling people around me about it. As a company, we have the opportunity to make a lasting impact and use this influence - I think that's great. This is how we create our own talent.  

At the Hacker School, IT professionals from the private sector teach as so-called inspirers. What makes inspirers special for you?

They show that you don't always have to know the solution straight away. They provide help and inspiration, but don't give away the solution. They show that you can make mistakes and still achieve a good end result step by step. And they generate successful results. I hope I have achieved that.

Did the Hacker School weekend inspire you personally?

Definitely! These two days were full of experimentation and motivation. Children are incredibly receptive at this age and the results were really impressive. I will definitely take something away with me: It's valuable to invest your time in projects like this. We have hopefully created many positive and lasting memories and aha moments. We should do this much more often.

What is a Hacker School weekend like?

Our aftermovie gives an insight:

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