Welcome to Empowering Employment, where we celebrate the companies that are doing their part to bridge the skills gap and help the economy. This month, CareerBuilder is proud to recognize Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to growing computer science education in schools. This week, Code.org is staging an unprecedented worldwide event to encourage computer science learning in schools and bring us closer to bridging the skills gap.
What can 5 million people across 160 countries do in one week’s time to help bridge the skills gap? It’s a question Code.org is attempting to answer this week with the launch of the Hour of Code, an unprecedented campaign to help millions of students of all ages learn the basics of computer science. Starting today, Code.org is providing free tutorials – both online and “unplugged” – to anyone who wants to learn more about coding. More than 5 million students across 160 countries have signed up to participate in Hour of Code – what Code.org is calling “the largest learning event in history.” Throughout the week, these students have free access to Code.org’s new learning platform with video tutorials by Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Bosh and Bill Gates.
Why computer science? Why now?
“Our goal is to offer every student the opportunity to learn computer science, because it’s an empowering skill – not only for students who want access to the best-paying jobs in the world, but for every 21st century student,” Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi explained over email. “Whether you want to go into medicine, law, chemisty, politics or business, a basic background in computer science will be increasingly critical in a world that is dependent on technology.” Unfortunately, the demand for people with these skills vastly outweighs the supply of people learning them. Though computer science is a top-paying degree, with jobs growing at twice the national average, less than 2.4 percent of students graduate with a computer science degree. Experts estimate that by 2020, jobs will outnumber students by 1 million. It certainly doesn’t help matters that only 10 percent of schools offer computer programming classes. The difficulty of finding quality computer science workers is a challenge Partovi has been dealing with for 15 years. But it wasn’t until a video he made featuring celebrity “geeks” including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg talking about the importance of computer science went viral that he realized realized he could do something more to help. “When that video was No. 1 on YouTube for a day, and 13,000 schools reached out asking our help to bring computer science classes to their curriculum, I realized it was going to be more than a hobby,” Partovi said. Thus, the Hour of Code was born. The support for the event has been overwhelming, garnering the support of over 100 individual and business partners – from Apple to Mark Zuckerberg (who also teaches one of the tutorials). “It’s been one of the easiest things in the world winning [our partners’] support,” Partovi said. “Nobody in the world opposes it.”
What can employers do to help?
Educators, community leaders and individuals around the world are encouraged to participate in the event in some way – whether it’s hosting an event in their classroom, at their workplace, encouraging others to take a one-hour course online. It’s not too late for employers can get in on the action, too – by encouraging employees to sign up to learn an hour of code – after all, they’re students, too, Partovi points out. “It’s not just for the kids! And it’s fun. Visit code.org, click the learn button, and play the fun game with the Angry Birds. You won’t even realize you’re learning.” Not to mention that learning these skills will only enrich their contribution to your company. But participation goes beyond just this one week: For more information on how to get your company involved in enriching the education of tomorrow’s workforce visit csedweek.org/employer – and check out this video below to learn more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc
Hour of Code Update:
The ‘Hour of Code’ was a tremendous success. If you haven’t see the numbers already, check out these mind-blowing stats.
- 16 million students learned an Hour of Code in the last 8 days
- They wrote over 500mm lines of code
- More girl coders than boys!
- #HourOfCode spread to more students in 7 days than the first 7 months of Facebook + Twitter + Tumblr + Pinterest + Instagram combined