Last week was Computer Science Education Week and as a part of it, millions of students around the world tried coding through the Hour of Code program. The Hour of Code is a grassroots campaign that tries to help demystify coding and help show people that anyone can learn the basics of coding. The Hour of Code website has tutorials and lessons and walks people through different programs using coding. Even President Obama got in on the action, participating in the Hour of Code early in the week.
Procera was really proud to get involved locally in the Hour of Code activities. Los Cerros Middle School in Danville, CA encouraged their students to participate in the Hour of Code and throughout the week each student went through various lessons on the Hour of Code website. To wrap up the week, Procera staff members headed to Los Cerros Middle School to talk to the students about coding, what it can help them do in their day-to-day lives, what kind of careers they can pursue with coding and show them that learning to code is not only a great skill to learn, but that coding is also really cool!
Parents were invited to attend the event to see what the kids had learned during their coding experience and to chat with Procera computer programmers to learn more about ways to keep their kids interested in coding.
It had been a while since I was in middle school and I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect at Los Cerros - would kids be interested in coding? Would they be interested in what we had to say? How do you talk about coding and careers to 11-14 year olds? Would anyone even come to chat with us?
Any worries I had were quickly cast aside when I walked into the school. We were met with the faces of 650 smiling and excited kids who had taken the Hour of Code lessons and many of them were really really really interested in coding and learning more about it! It was awesome to talk to the students and hear about what they learned and teach them about ways coding could help them when they get into high school and even onto college.
A big highlight of the day for me was seeing a lot of girls interested in coding. As a woman who works in the technology sector, it made me smile when many young girls enthusiastically told me about the games they created during Hour of Code and their plans to go into computer science in high school. This is a huge step for the technology industry. According to a 2013 National Public Radio article, only about 20% of computer programmers are women! Additionally, of all the jobs available in technology companies today, only 25% of the workforce are women. And data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs and the number of computer science jobs, according to Code.org, is growing at a pace two times the national average for job growth. So we need to get young girls interested in coding and technology to help fill these roles in the future.
Procera was really pumped to be representing the technology industry at Los Cerros for Hour of Code and we are already excited about other events we can participate in the community to help get kids interested in coding – if you have an idea for us, please reach out and let us know! We would love to help guide the future of the technology industry and potentially some future Procerians!