Member Profile: Kathryn Parsons MBE, Decoded


“I’m proud to have campaigned to make code a mandatory subject on the UK national curriculum which was successful in 2014, making the UK one of the first countries to do so.  I was awarded an MBE for services to education from The Queen and promised I’d teach Prince George to code. I still owe him a lesson.”

Kathryn co-founded Decoded ten years ago with a mission to decode the digital world.

Decoded work with companies who want to transform the digital capability of their people and cultures of their businesses. Decoded delivers immersions in AI and cybersecurity as well as bootcamps in data skills, software development, data engineering, and illuminates how to become product owners, business analysts and more. They’ve taught hundreds of thousands of learners worldwide transforming peoples’ careers and businesses along the way.

Lately, Kathryn has been keeping herself extra busy, writing a guest column on tech for The Sunday Times. She shares some tips on her entrepreneurial journey…


How did Decoded come into being?

Ten years ago, I wanted to learn to code.  But there was nowhere to go.  Decoded was launched with a mission to demystify the digital dark arts, to get people hands on with the technologies shaping our world and to create transformative learning experiences.  We started by promising to teach anyone to code in a day.  It exploded…the rest is history.

On the topic of history, I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at Cambridge.  For me, technology is just another language and culture to decode.  Arguably a more useful one than Latin, but don’t tell my Classics professor I said that.


What have been the biggest challenges in scaling?

We deliver face-to-face as well as online. Face-to-face is not as scalable as just online.  But as a result we get some of the best completion rates in the industry and lots of happy customers.  We are an almost entirely word-of-mouth grown business and I’m really proud that many of our customers have stayed and grown with us since we launched. 


What does the future hold for you?

I recently moved to San Francisco, married a Californian and had a beautiful baby boy.  So lots of hiking, making new friends and nappies (sorry “diapers”).


Do you have any advice for future founders in your field?

Education is one of the least digitally transformed industries. There is an almost unlimited potential to disrupt and improve how we learn today.  It may not be the sexiest space for investors, but I love it.  


On a closing note, what’s the best business book you’ve read?

After over a decade of devouring business books, I’m re-immersing myself in literature to better understand the human condition and the project of civilisation. There’s no point in building unless it’s towards a better world. I’d recommend Against The Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States.  I’m currently reading the Oxford Book of Essays