Web designInterview

Benjamin Hollway on learning to code at age 8

Brighton-based Benjamin Hollway on his early introduction to coding and his first projects.

Benjamin Hollway is one of 10 nominees for Emerging Talent of the Year in the 2014 net Awards. He's 16 years old and had been coding since the age of eight. We quizzed him to find out more.

Tell us about your main areas of competency.

My main area of knowledge is web design and front end development. I enjoy writing my own JavaScript and jQuery, and I have dabbled in languages such as PHP.

Are you currently working or studying?

I've been home educated for the last eight years and I am just about to complete my A-level courses. When not studying, I am a freelance web designer and developer.

Give us a summary of your web work so far.

Over the course of the last year I've worked on a range of websites for small businesses and people. I was also in the design challenge in the latest issue of net magazine. Recently I have been working alongside a small web development company in Brighton.

At what age did you start learning to code, and how did your interest in the web get started?

I first learnt to code when I was eight, but I don't think I moved onto web development until a couple of years later. One of the first things I did that got me started with web development was to collect all the games I enjoyed playing, on the internet, in one place - my first website. A friend helped by hosting my website and I soon discovered that just collecting games wasn't the limit of my creativity.  Soon I was learning more languages and building more complex projects.

What was the first thing you built?

The first thing I built was in Visual Basic, and it was a ball that bounced back and forward across the screen, very similar to a pong game. This game never went on my website but it sparked the aspiration to learn and understand more. The first website I built was lime green. In hindsight, I now see that it was hideous.

Recent work from Benjamin's portfolio

What are you working on now?

Right now I am doing a mix of freelance and subcontracted work. I'm also working on a side project with another of the Emerging Talent nominees.

Are there any people whose work has been especially inspirational to you?

Many people in the creative industry inspire me, too many to list. They inspire me in a range of areas, from new ideas to their work ethic and everything else between, such as their ability to make seemingly bland things sound and look exciting.

Vote in the net Awards!

Celebrating the best in web design and development, the 15th net Awards is open for public voting until 24 March. With a record breaking number of nominations this year, it's set to be the biggest and best yet. Have your say by casting your votes here.

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