Hour Of Code Week

What is it?

People all over the world are currently getting involved in Hour Of Codeweek, an initiative created by code.org to introduce as many kids as possible to computer science. 8,834,344 people in the UK have already tried an Hour of Code.  Anyone can learn and no experience is needed.  No computers either.  And the age range stretches from four to 104. The Hour of Code is a global phenomenon reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.  Since launching in 2013 more girls have tried computer science than in the last 70 years.

Who’s it for?

There are loads of tutorials to choose from including ones from Minecraft, Star Wars, and Disney’s Frozen.  This one-hour introduction to computer science is designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Check out the tutorials, they’re self-guided – all you have to do is pick one, pick an hour and they take care of the rest. They also have options for every age and experience-level, from primary up.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited one of the workshops running in Manhattan and took some time out to discuss the importance of coding in a child’s development.  Even if young coders don’t go on to lucrative jobs in tech, it will help them “discover a new way to be creative and pick up important problem-solving skills along the way.”

The type of roles coding could lead to

While the tech industry waits on this new breed of up and coming coding enthusiasts, there is a fairly large skills gap in need of addressing. In Scotland there is a real need for new innovative software engineering talent and this is forecast to get much bigger over the next couple of years. CodeClan is on the case, tooling up individuals from a range of backgrounds with the skills they need to go straight into a role in tech. The kind of roles that graduates of the course could expect to go on to range from software developer to web developer and more. As Kate, instructor at CodeClan tells us “to be good at coding you need language, logic and analytical skills as well as creative and expressive skills.” That’s a pretty broad range, and as such there is a lot of untapped talent out there.

NOW is the time!

There’s never been a better time to join Scotland’s tech industry. In a study conducted by ScotlandIS this March 2015, out of the four “mature technology independent” companies interviewed there were 595 people in tech roles at the time of the study, with 100 vacancies. These four companies alone are planning on taking on another 455 employees in tech roles over the next three years.

Valerie was a developer before joining CodeClan as an instructor, and she doesn’t see coding as simply a platform to great job opportunities. “Learning to code has opened up a world to me that is full of continual learning and improvement. It is a world where I am constantly challenged.”

Try an hour of code this week, and see where it takes you.

Image: Flickr/CreativeCommons/Flickr:Lucelia Ribeiro