The largest educational event in history is happening this week
With 191,035 events around the world, Hour of Code is attempting to reach 10 million students.
When we were growing up, career day at school meant meeting doctors, lawyers and firefighters. But nowadays, with more and more career choices, students are also being introduced to the likes of computer programmers and app developers.
To inspire the next generation to choose a computer-centric career path, the nonprofit group Code.org is hosting a weeklong movement to expose students to the field. From Dec. 7-13, there are 191,035 Hour of Code events happening around the world in 180 countries. By way of example, France, Greece and Israel have a combined 1,117 events taking place this week. In the U.S., the group is partnering with dozens of public school districts including those in New York, Denver and Chicago to provide lessons in computer coding.
Some are calling it the largest educational event in history, hoping to reach 10 million students.
What's the goal of the program? To spend one hour teaching students how to create computer programs, invent apps, build websites and more. At the Hour of Code website, teachers can print out certificates to hand out to students when the hour is over.
Even just this short introduction can motivate students to choose a career in the tech industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be more than 1 million computing job openings by 2022 when many of these students will start to enter the workforce. In addition, a new report showed that jobs such as web designers and software engineers offer the best work-life balance.
Apple, Microsoft and Google are among the myriad corporations on board to help with this week's historic event. In the video below, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about how his life was transformed when he got his first computer.
Maryland native Jonathan Caras learned to code at a very young age and used that knowledge to co-found Glide, a popular video messaging app. Since Glide's launch less than three years ago, billions of messages have been sent on the platform.
The 32-year-old Caras now serves as the company's Chief Operating Officer and shepherds a team of coders at their headquarters in Jerusalem. "I was exposed to coding at the age of 11 in the sixth grade," he told From The Grapevine. "It taught me that an idea with focus could become reality. And that reality can have a huge impact on the rest of the world. That knowledge, that empowerment is essential for teaching the younger generation. In addition to the exposure to engineering concepts, it builds confidence.”
The Hour of Code is the latest in a string of efforts to get students interested in computer science and other STEM-related topics. (STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.) Earlier this year, a 22-year-old San Francisco woman launched the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign, which went viral. Its purpose was to highlight female coders and engineers to encourage young students to choose a career in the computer industry.
Similarly, the Hour of Code initiative is hoping the events inspire female coders. In the video below, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, actress Jessica Alba and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai discuss the importance of teaching young women about the industry.
"It's about being talented," said Paola Mejía Minaya, a female engineer at Microsoft. "Computer science needs more talented people, people who are not afraid of being creative and making the world a better place."
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