Still think coding is for nerds who work behind the scenes in dark computing labs? Think again. Here are seven celebrities you probably didn’t know could code…
She’s modelled for big name brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Calvin Klein, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and DKNY. More recently though, the 30-year-old model and actress has been putting her computer science degree to good use (she graduated from Amherst College, Massachusetts with a joint degree in theatre and computer science) and programmes iOS apps in her free time. Several apps that she has helped develop are available to buy from the Apple App Store, including imDown, an entertainment network for videos under a minute long; beautifulBook, a reading app which lets you add art deco or gothic themes to online books and Educate!, an app that supports an organisation developing young leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa. She’s also presented a short film about coding, starring Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
The model turned actor, who’s starred in films including Dude Where’s My Car and the TV series, Two and a Half Men is a big investor in tech startups and has sunk some of his Hollywood fortune into companies such as Airbnb, Spotify, Foursquare, and Uber. Mr Mila Kunis first learned to code while studying Biochemical Engineering at university, and went on to play Steve Jobs in the 2013 film, Jobs. Kutcher was hired as a product engineer for the Beijing based tech company, Lenovo, and is also an ambassador for the Hour of Code, an organisation that aims to introduce computer science to students all over the world.
Another TV star that you probably didn’t know could code is American presenter and comedian Jimmy Fallon. He learned to computer programme while studying computer science at The College of Saint Rose in New York, but chose to enter the world of light entertainment instead, working initially on Saturday Night Live, then his own show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and more recently The Tonight Show, presented in the past by Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Recent guests have included Tina Fey, Jesse Eisenberg and Glasgow’s own synth-pop band Chvrches.
As he pointed out in the film Taken, this Northern Irish actor has a “very particular set of skills”. What you possibly didn’t know is that his skillset includes coding, after he studied computer science and physics at Queen’s University, Belfast. Neeson didn’t end up graduating, as he dropped out to work for the Guinness Brewery as a fork-lift operator, before taking up acting in 1976. He’s since shown up in films including Anchorman 2, Schindler’s List, Love Actually and The Lego Movie (he did the voiceover for the police officer Good Cop/ Bad Cop).
The American rapper is perhaps most famous as the Grammy award-winning frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, but he also knows his way around a computing programme. He studied coding and later became an advocate for code.org, a non-profit “dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color”. Will-I-Am’s been an enthusiastic champion of technology for years now, and launched his own i.am+ foto.soho in 2012, an iPhone case with four interchangeable lenses to improve the quality of built-in cameras.
Back in 2013, the star of films such as Monster’s Ball and What’s Love Got To Do lent her support to Hour of Code along with My Kutcher. President Barack Obama and Usher also took part and saw what they could learn in an hour. The campaign has since grown, and become a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. Whether or not the actress ever put her coding skills into practice is unknown, but she definitely learned to write five lines of code in an hour, and created this promo video to prove it. If that’s possible after sixty minutes, just imagine what you could pick up on a 16-week CodeClan course?
This American model and friend of Taylor Swift, wants to see more inspirational women working in the world of tech, so she teamed up with a New York computing school to launch a scholarship aimed at getting young women to learn to code. The 24-year-old, who has modelled for Dolce & Gabbana, Gap, Pringle of Scotland and Marc Jacobs, donated the $20,000 scholarship fee out of her own pocket, after becoming passionate about computer programming after doing a crash course in coding in 2014.