Under the Spotlight:

Dr Raoul-Gabriel Urma

In this Under The Spotlight, we have an open and frank Q & A with Eagle Labs member and rock-star coder Raoul Urma, CEO of Cambridge Coding Academy, to find out just what makes him tick...

What constitutes a coding language?

You and I as humans use English to communicate. We need a way to communicate with computers to get them to do what we intend them to do and help us out with complex simulations and maths; that's what a programming language is for. Simply put, it's a way to give a sequence of tasks to a computer to execute.

What have been some of CCA's most popular workshops?

We have 2 products targeted at 2 different audiences - Professional Development courses targeted for developers, researchers and people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s . Lots of companies are hiring data analysts and skilled programmers. Here, our Data Science boot-camp has been extremely popular with hundreds of people attending. The other one is our Summer School program running in Cambridge. This year we had one hundred students from twelve countries attending.

You are indeed a doctor, what did you do your PhD thesis on?  

In short; "Can we create tools and automated techniques to migrate code written in language version 1 to language version 2" which is a huge industrial problem. As an example, the English you and I are speaking today is completely different from the English spoken 200 years ago. The language has evolved with grammar changes, new words, changed words etc. We're not really affected by it, because we've had decades for these changes to be introduced and we've adapted to them. Now, computer hardware evolves every year, so every single year, we need new ways of telling computers what to do in the most efficient way possible; how can we automate the writing of millions of lines of code to keep up with the evolution of computers? The most nerdy thing ever, right?!

Do you find there is a lot of competition for CCA in the local area? 

To be honest, we don't view ourselves as having competition. We're passionate about what we do and we have a product that we want to develop which ultimately is research project to make learning highly personalised and adaptive to each individual. These are based on their personal interests on cognitive models they prefer to learn from; audio, texts and videos. We're having fun! We have a great business that is growing, but we're not approaching it day-to-day saying "we've got competitors - watch out!", we're just going with the flow and enjoying it! Within Cambridge, looking at a purely training aspect, we don't know of other companies providing the type of training we do. In the world - sure! But it's like universities, what one university has to offer is vastly different from another. 

What do you enjoy most about working at the Eagle Labs?

The banter!

If you could travel through time, where would you go and why?

To the past - thousands of years; before we had separate continents. I'd have a nice, all-terrain car to go on the best road trip of my life! I'd love to see the world how it was.

What is you favourite film?

The Matrix... the first one! It blew my mind when I first saw it!

If / when computers rise up against humans (Terminator-style), do you have any survival tips? 

Learn to run... fast!

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