Code.org and the Hour of Code

This past Dreamforce conference I saw that there was a session being led by Hadi Patrovi.  I was intrigued as my former company, Qloud, competed directly with the company iLike were Patrovi was CEO.  We talked once briefly about merging the two companies, but ultimately nothing became of it.  We sold to BuzzMedia for $8million and they sold to MySpace for $16m.  Both products were then quickly shut down.  Oh well, it’s all water under the bridge.

So, i wanted to see what Hadi was up to.  Man was I in for a treat.  Hadi is the founder of Code.org which is doing some remarkable stuff. Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools.  Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science and it should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.  I totally agree. 

At Kapost we are constantly on the lookout for great engineers.  Always. We don’t close those job recs.  We are always looking. This is important because in the USA the number of people qualified for the jobs (demand) far outweighs the supply.

Programming jobs are growing at 2X the national average.   But, we also have an unemployment problem and we’re not doing anything to address these two things.

Even worse, in college only 2.4% of college students are graduating with a Computer Science degree – and that number is SHRINKING.  In high school it’s also lame as 9 out of 10 high schools don’t even offer a programming class and in 25 of the 50 states computer science can’t count towards a high school graduation math or science requirements. 

 

So, i’m happy they exist and apparently so is the rest of the country.  In their launch late last year they made quite a splash. Most companies and websites launch with a little fanfare and get an initial bump of users.  On their launch day they had:

  1. The President of the US, Obama, give a press announcement about it and Code.org’s “hour of code” happening that day
  2. All the major morning shows in the USA talk about the “hour of code”
  3. The pushed it hard enough so that 1 in 5 US  students had tried the “hour of code”
  4. Became the fastest website in the world to get to 15 million users.  

I’m really happy for the start that it’s received and I think it’s a great cause for us to tackle in America as we prepare for the future.  Personally, I had zero exposure to programming in high school.  I took an intro class in college and loved it.  That led to another class and before I knew it i was majoring in CS.  That led to a career in technology and I couldn’t be happier.  It’d be a shame if others couldn’t get that chance. 

 

 

 

 

Student Debt in America

I listened to this podcast (This Week in Venture Capital) about a company focusing on organizing a students debt and loans. More than the company, the stats really stuck out for me.  Here they some and what they mean:

Student debt is HUGE. Student debt over last 10 years has doubled to a trillion dollars.  Here’ the breakdown:

Debt in America
People can’t get jobs still. 50% of people graduating from University are unemployed or underemployed

It’s not just poor, it’s a lot of people. 2/3 of all students graduating in 2008 took on debt

It’s a problem that isn’t being solved. Of the 2008 grads that took on debt only 22% of these are current (aka up to speed on their payments)
It’s not just young people anymore. 34% of all outstanding debt in US is held by people 40 years or older

This is fundamental problem in America and it’s impacting everyone at all ages and areas.  I feel like it should get great attention and be a bigger part of the “what’s wrong with America” conversation.

Luckily, the changes in the education system will cause more schools with more affordable opportunities to emerge.  Kahn Academy U can’t come fast enough apparently.