The Programmer President
This year’s Computer Science Education Week was organized by Code.org, a non-profit organization which aims to spark interest in technology and inspire people to learn how to code. On code.org, anyone can initiate themselves in the basics of computer programming by taking specially designed one-hour long tutorials. The tutorials are aimed at different age groups, from preschoolers to centenarians.
“Learning these skills isn’t just important for your future, it’s important for our country’s future,” Obama said in a YouTube video. “If we want America to stay on the cutting edge, we need young Americans like you to master the tools and technology that will change the way we do just about everything.”
While Obama is spot-on about more people having to learn to code, I feel he may be overstating things a bit. The blue line in the chart above shows how interest in computer science from freshmen at the University of Washington in Seattle has skyrocketed since 2010 compared with other engineering fields; and the UW is not alone. This is a situation that is common in universities throughout the US. Clearly, there is a huge interest in computer science among freshmen and apparently universities can’t keep up. This is where programs like Code.org or the Khan Academy step in to empower people, teaching them how to code in a non-formal environment. Nevertheless, maybe it’s better to encourage people to find their true calling. I’d love to just as much interest and resources that go into learning code being awarded to programs that guide people so that they might find what they’re actually good at.
Discurse co-founder and CTO Jeff Atwood wrote ““I would no more urge everyone to learn programming than I would urge everyone to learn plumbing.”