Looking back at my education, Information Technology lessons consisted of creating tables in Microsoft Word, or mastering simple data validation in Excel. The teaching of coding was non existent. Discovering that I actually quite liked web development (admittedly a simple form of coding, but coding nonetheless) later in my life meant that most of what I know has been self taught. With hindsight, if I had been taught even some basic concepts, that would have helped immeasurably and i’m sure it wouldn’t have taken so long for me to settle on a career.
Code.org has been established in order to encourage the learning of coding, aiming to try and get schools to add computer programming to the curriculum. It has some notable supporters too, with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others appearing in the launch video. According to the statistics released by the non-profit organisation, 1.4 million computer science jobs will be open over the next 10 years and only 400,000 American graduates are expected to be qualified enough to fill them. It is likely a similar story in the UK, which likewise has no formal education of coding throughout school.
The code.org team believe that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code and while their primary goal is to have computer science and computer programming as part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, they also wish to provide a comprehensive database of online schools, such as codecademy, where people can go to learn code.
The video emphasizes that coding is “not just for geeks” and that a solid grasp of code would help students in many aspects of their education. Bill Gates states that “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”
Dropbox founder Drew Houston gives an idea of the excitement to be had from coding, stating that “To be able to actually come up with an idea and then see it in your hands and press a button and have it be in millions of people’s hands, I think we’re the first generation in the world that’s really had that kind of experience, it’s the closest thing we have to a superpower.”
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