One million kids just got one step closer to geeking out. That’s how many students have officially signed up for the Hour of Code, the Code.org awareness initiative to get more students into computer science.
The Hour of Code will happen during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from December 9-15. Throughout the week, schools around the country will hold workshops teaching students about different programming languages, career options, and training resources. There are prizes to be had, from new computers to free Dropbox storage.
Non-profit Code.org only announced the Hour of Code 16 days ago, so that’s a pretty fast turnaround to get a million participants onboard. I’m sure its snazzy video, featuring celebrities and tech stars, helped get people excited.
In it Mark Zuckerberg appears in a sit-down interview with the casual name title “Mark: Created Facebook.” As does “Jack: Created Twitter” and “Bill: Created Microsoft.” See? Billionaire CEOs are real people with first names too. If they can code, you can too. Or something.
Flashy video and fast traction aside, the organization’s stated goal is to reach 10 million children, so it still has a ways to go.
The event is backed by some big names in tech — Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Ron Conway, Jack Dorsey, John Doerr, Reid Hoffman and others — who have donated tens of millions of dollars. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates will even be personally teaching online during the event through a specially filmed Code.org tutorial.
Why are tech power forces supporting the Hour of Code? Well, from one perspective the more trained developers the world has, the more talent Silicon Valley can recruit from. Plus, these techies lives were changed because they learned to code, so it’s a logical philanthropic pursuit. At the press conference announcing the event, Reid Hoffman pointed out that software is infiltrating many industries, not just startups. From medicine to transportation, employees across a wide swath of job sectors would benefit from “being able to do reasoning in the way that coding teaches you.”
The avid response of the national populace bodes well. As we’ve written about, it’s no secret that jobs in technology are coveted and plenty of people are trying to learn programming to get on the bandwagon. Initiatives like Hour of Code start ‘em young, so that in another ten years Silicon Valley will barely remember the talent drought it suffered in the early 2010′s.