Just how important is it for kids to learn to code? According to some major companies, it’s paramount, or at least worth investing money into.
Financial company Bloomberg partnered Wednesday with CodeNow, a nonprofit aimed at teaching technology skills to underprivileged kids. Bloomberg and CodeNow have teamed up to launch “CodeNow in a Box,” a nationwide program that will give teachers the tools to instruct according to CodeNow’s own researched technology curriculum. (Press release embedded below; no link available as of publication.)
Meanwhile, Disney has united with Code.org to teach kids the basics of programming syntax using the beloved Frozen characters Elsa and Anna. The tutorial aims to get children, especially girls, interested in coding early. Additionally, Disney will be donating $100,000 to Code.org to implement after-school technology programs around the country.
Neither Bloomberg and Disney are what you’d consider a technology giant, so their interest indicates the way that increasingly all businesses are tangentially related to code. To companies like these, it’s extremely important to have kids—also known as potential future employees—pick up the programming skills that have become essential to so many career trajectories at both companies.
“We rely heavily on our skilled technologists to power everything we do here at Bloomberg,” Shawn Edwards, the company’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “It also makes business sense [to support CodeNow], because as we continue to grow it will help us address our need for people with these highly coveted skill sets.”
Training The Future Workforce
Programmer jobs are in demand, and it’s not clear that there are enough developers (and will be enough potential developers) to fill that need. In 2010, there were 913,000 U.S. jobs for software developers, and that number is expected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, expected job growth across all U.S. occupations over that same amount of time was just 14%.
U.S. public schools don’t seem to be picking up the slack, either. Last year, just 1.4 percent of high school AP students took the computer science exam, compared to almost 40 percent that took the AP English exam. Each year, U.S. companies need to fill almost 150,000 jobs related to computer science and mathematics, but colleges and universities only graduate about 100,000 students with degrees in those fields.
In the end, it’s nonprofits like CodeNow and Code.org that are making it a priority to teach U.S. children to code. So that’s where the companies that want to hire developers are putting their money. Expect to see more and larger partnerships in the future.
Here’s that Bloomberg-CodeNow announcement:
Screenshot via Disney on Code.org