“Locked-down” graduate teaches herself coding to hit the gaming big-time

A graduate who taught herself coding has launched an Instagram game, attracting over a million users since it launched last month.

Interactive Instagram game, “Guess The Country”, is the brainchild of Master’s graduate and self-taught programmer, Fran Shollo. Confined to home by lockdown, Fran used the free time studying “how to” videos online and downloading free software to write the coding she needed to bring her fun “camera-effect” quiz to life. She also taught herself high-level Adobe Photoshop skills to ensure the imagery and animation looked professional.

Three days after its May 11 launch, Fran’s game had gone viral, attracting 300,000 users and global attention from celebrities, journalists and international bloggers.

Coding had always intimidated her, but Fran gained confidence through a process of trial and error, always working with the mindset, “Even when I fail, I learn”.

She said:“Coding is a curiosity I have always had and during the lockdown I had more spare time to spend which helped me develop new skills. The fun thing about this experience was that I was brand-new to the field and at first I was not even sure what I was doing, but knowing how much entertaining and fun it can be in such a digital world triggered my independent learning at home.”

Fran graduated at Chester with a Master’s in Marketing Management and admitted she got “goosebumps” once she realised word was spreading throughout the world about her homegrown game, in which users have three seconds to guess the name of a country, based on its capital.

“Coding is now my new passion, not something to be scared of because, once you take the plunge, a new world of creativity opens up. You’ll love the results and they will be all your own.”

Fran’s next career move is into digital marketing, once she has made a commercial success of her game. She is now inspiring future game-inventors to follow in her footsteps including an interview on LinkedIn with Chester’s Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Sales, Beth Morris.

She added: “I was thrilled to see people around the world using my filter game on Instagram and I felt inspired to share that on LinkedIn where Beth invited me to have a chat about my experience. I really enjoyed our interview and it made me realise once again that at our Chester Business School the support lasts even after graduating.”

Beth said she was really inspired by Fran’s achievement and found her story fascinating.

She explained: “Before the UK COVID-19 lockdown, Fran was a complete beginner at coding. Sometimes people feel that certain aspects of digital marketing are too technical for them or that things like coding are a bit intimidating. I hope Fran’s story shows that this does not have to be the case It really accessible and great fun!

“Our BA Digital Marketing Degree is built around the notion that this subject cannot be learned simply from textbooks. Learning by doing is so important. We support our students in experimenting with digital tools and learning by trial and error. Fran’s story encapsulates that approach.”

Stuart Paul, Programme Leader for the MSc in Marketing Management, added: “Fran proved that, if you design and develop an idea that is fun and interesting, people will love it and spread the word. Fran’s success story is a fantastic display of what can be achieved with some intuition and enterprise. Lots people have ideas and it takes that extra spark of coming up with a different way of looking at problems to make sure those ideas to become a winner.”

To view Beth’s interview with Fran, visit https://youtu.be/NSrHSEVIXIU

To access Fran’s Instagram filter on a mobile device, use https://www.instagram.com/ar/1149008648791152/

For more details about Chester’s BA in Digital Marketing, visit: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/digital-marketing and, for the MSc Marketing Management, https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/marketing-management

Caption: Fran Shollo, a self-taught coder with success at her fingertips.

Upcoming Events

The Chamber in partnership with Warrington Business Exchange provide a range of business-to-business events that offer networking and business development opportunities. Most are held in the Warrington area, with occasional events taking place across the region and run in partnership with neighbouring Chambers of Commerce.


   What’s On? | Warrington & Co Business Exchange (wbex.co.uk)