Femi Owolade-Coombes, aged 15, has been coding since he was eight years old. After learning to hack Minecraft using Python on the Raspberry Pi computer, he decided to set up South London Raspberry Jam, to share his passion for coding with other young people. Four years on, Femi has run loads of coding and robot workshops reaching hundreds of young people across the UK and internationally.
The community events he runs, with other volunteers, have been praised for being pioneering as they are fully inclusive and welcome young people who have autism or, like him, Tourettes Syndrome. In 2017, he won an Inaugural Legacy Diana Award for his kindness, compassion and duty to the community. And soon after Femi successfully set up his own business, hackerfemo.com, delivering workshops and inspirational talks to corporate companies and public organisations, whilst continuing his community work. He has been recognised as a ‘Change enabler’ and an inspirational young coding ambassador for ARM Technologies.
He’s presented keynote speeches at Industry events such as the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, Lloyds Banking Group, Beano, Scratch Europe, Microbit Live, UK-ASEAN Business Council ( The Future Starts Here) and Cybersecurity talks for CyberNews, OWASP and Cyber Talks. More recently he has hosted Roundtable discussions for Skills Matters (Beyond Tech).
Femi Owolade-Coombes has been awarded a Point of Light award from the former Prime Minister, Theresa May “in recognition of your exceptional service training young people in digit skills.” Earlier this year he was also commissioned to develop a coding curriculum for Red Hat’s CO.LAB programme for girls which attracted over 5 million social media impressions. He was named on the Independent’s Happy List 2018 and was recognised as one of the London Tech Advocates 25 Under 25s rising talents in 2019.
Presently he has partnered with Imran Hassan, a young Deaf coder, to develop an AI App to help Deaf children with literacy, where he has delved into the realms of AI and Machine Learning, exploring Deep Learning, created Neural networks and learnt about Back Propagation and Dynamic Time Warping whilst building awareness around the ethics of AI and Data Science. He was a guest participant at the first week long event run under the newly form Creative Computing Institute at UAL lead by an Industry professional, Marco Marchesi ,from Happy Finish.
Femi Owolade-Coombes is very excited about the year ahead and sharing his experiences with others through his business and continuing to be an advocate for Open Source, Diversity and Inclusion and community. He hopes to write an academic paper exploring the impact of technology on young people, with UAL, and to develop a podcast series for Red Hat to inform his peers but also to share with the industry, how young people are experiencing technology themselves.
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