The countdown to the SPARKies tech awards is on, with only 2 days to go until the best people and companies in tech in the South West are highlighted. The shortlist is out now too and we are very excited to see so many familiar names on the list.

Nominated for the Future Spark Award is Callum Short, we’d like to share with you the story of this impressive 18-year-old coder.

Callum is a Ruby Developer at Spicerack and Founder of Beambox, we asked him a few questions about his professional journey so far…

ADLIB: What was your starting point? Do you recall when you first heard about “coding”?

Callum Short: I started programming at the age of 11. I have always had a passion for entrepreneurial ventures, at 11 I knew I couldn’t do much in the world but by going digital and learning to code I never saw age as a constraint. If anything, being young helped me pick-up fresh concepts and dedicate the time needed to really master some languages.

“With the internet acting as a warehouse of resources and documentation there’s never been an easier time to dive straight in to coding”


ADLIB: Where and how did you learn how to code?

CS: I was self-taught. With the internet acting as a warehouse of resources and documentation there’s never been an easier time to dive straight in. There’s hundreds of ways to pick-up the basics and thousands of online communities willing to help you out if you get stuck.

ADLIB: Are there any key events and people that influenced your choice to become a professional developer?

CS: I’d say it’s an acquired love that’s led me down this path. Programming is incredible in that it provides the resources required to construct some very powerful applications. Though, at the same time there is always a very creative and fun aspect to it. It gets difficult at times, but that’s what really makes the successes special.

ADLIB: In your spare time and also professionally, what do you create through coding?

CS: My first significant commercial project was a directory called UK-Franchise, which won the IFA Global Entrepreneurs Competition at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. My latest side-project is called Beambox – It’s a physical device with a web-based control panel that lets small businesses use free Wi-Fi to automate marketing. At Spicerack, we’re working on a powerpoint analyser that interacts with the artificially intelligent IBM Watson to understand the context of the powerpoint slides.

ADLIB: Why do you code in your spare time?

CS: The main reason is because it lets me create things which can have a huge impact, though, I’ve always seen value in programming outside of work as the languages and frameworks I pick up directly correlates with my value to an employer.

ADLIB: Do you have any examples of work you could share?

CS: Beambox is definitely worth a look! It launched a month ago and has had some great demand and media coverage.

ADLIB: What platforms would you recommend to people to get started with coding and also to maintain skills?

CS: I would always recommend to pick-up the basics of front-end development. It’s an easy entry point and you’ll learn about website architecture which will come in handy down the road. If you want to dive into back-end, Ruby On Rails is incredibly documented and has some really useful learning resources.

We’d like to thank Callum for speaking to us and we wish him good luck on the night!

Mike Harley