By: Jennifer Devitt on December 10th, 2013
Support Hour of Code. The kids of America need it to succeed.
This week is Computer Science Education Week. Leaders at major tech companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Mircosoft are leading the push. Combining their efforts with groups like Code.org, Girls Who Code and President Obama to raise awareness of the importance of computer science education.
According to data from Code.org, 7,024,235 students have participated in one hour of code! Kids and adults alike can participate by downloading apps from companies like Code Academy, many are free right now. These apps are made to hook kids, showing them that programming is fun and not just for "nerds" or "computer geeks".
In February, I blogged, at our shock, that for our high school freshman to graduate in 2017 she was only required ONE semester of technology! We found this to be completely appalling. Everything kids do now revolve around technology. I am not saying they should all be expert programmers, but understanding code should be required. The job market has an increasing need for programmers. Many startup companies are finding themselves strapped for cash and finding they need to do some programming work themselves. We bank online, student grades are online. Students submit digital homework assignments and do group projects via Skype and FaceTime. Shouldn't we all have a basic understanding of coding?
In our house, we are pushing for our kids to code. Not just because we want to have them join our business when they are older (although that is our hope) but because we believe they need it to succeed in the future. Dave has been teaching Connor to code (See pic) on and off for awhile now. Over the summer he started his own website. Monday night, they did an "hour of code" while Connor was learning to do some maintenance work for one of our clients. He was thrilled to learn cause he was getting paid! Our youngest, Shannon has iPad apps where she is learning to code as well. She has a little character now she calls "Mustache Man" spelling out her name across the iPad screen (Think Etch a Sketch - but the code does it for you). So far we have one holdout, our oldest Sydney. However, I would like to get her to try Girls Who Code or something before she closes the door on it without trying. I am planning on setting an example. I am going to try one of the Hour of Code apps or look into the online course from Khan Academy or Code Academy. I believe more women/girls need to become programmers and follow the footsteps of the first computer programmer - a women, Ada Lovelace.
As a development shop, we know just how difficult it can be to find qualified programmers. We also see how technology is a growing factor in all industries. Go visit the Code.org YouTube channel and watch their videos. Many of them tell stories of people in varying industries and how they use code or technology daily in their jobs. I am challenging you like I am challenging my children and myself. Download a coding app, talk to a developer you know and participate in the hour of code. I can't wait to hear your stories from your hour of coding! Who knows, maybe someone who starts with an Hour of Code will be the next member of the SYDCON Development Team!