Code.org is a vital non-profit founded by the entrepreneur Hadi Partovi that advocates for computer programming as an essential 21st century skill. Code.org’s governing ethos is to ensure that no child (or adult, for that matter) gets left behind as our technology-driven world hurtles forth like a binary rocket. As a happy byproduct, Code.org’s success should also ensure that our nation doesn’t get left behind either.
The number of available computer programming jobs is far greater than the number of qualified candidates to fill them, a disparity that’s likely to grow for the foreseeable future. But though it hopes to reverse this trend, Code.org is not strictly a jobs-centered initiative — it’s more than that. Code.org understands that there is a new language in town, and if you want to live here you’ll need to become at least moderately fluent in it. As Apple founder Steve Jobs said: “everybody should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
The team at Code.org is proof Jobs was right: the organization not only thinks, it thinks big. Examples? Code.org has veteran filmmaker Lesley Chilcott (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) create Code.org’s inspirational and provocative videos featuring the likes of Microsoft titan Bill Gates and Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg. These digital world legends talk enticingly about conjuring code magic.
Code.org’s mission is so critical that the site is able to quote everyone from Newark Mayor Cory Booker to MIT Media Labs founder Nicholas Negroponte, from Bill Clinton to Marco Rubio, from Sheryl Sandberg to Meg Whitman in support of its work. But it may be Vanessa Hurst, of Girl Develop It, who says it best: “I think if someone had told me that software is really about humanity, that it’s really about helping people by using computer technology, it would have changed my outlook a lot earlier.” You can start to learn to code today, with a visit to Code.org.
[NOTE: Code.org says nearly a million US teachers use its programs and that 30% of US students have accounts, including 14 million young women coders.)