Coding

Brooklyn High Schoolers Learn to Code, Will Probably Get a Job Before You Do

Prepare to regret your Religious Studies Major.
Look at these cuties learning to code!

Look at these cuties learning to code! (Codeacademy)

In news that’ll actually give you hope for the future, a bunch of inner city Brooklyn high schoolers took a field trip this week to learn the basics of coding.

Around 20 students from Achievement First University Prep High School travelled to Codeacademy‘s Chelsea office on Wednesday to participate in an Hour of Code. The event was held in the spirit of Computer Science Education Week, an annual initiative to get all those stinkin’ American schoolkids off Instagram and increase their interest in computer science.

Achievement First is a network of rigorous schools that aims to put underserved, urban kids on a pathway to college. So for the first portion of their Codeacademy visit, students listened as a front end developer, app developer and web designer explained what they learned in college, and how they first got into computer programming.

Next, they split into groups to do their hours of code, where they created fun, simple programs like virtual holiday cards for their families.

It was exciting for Codeacademy to be able to provide programming opportunities to kids who might otherwise not have the necessary access.

“Our education system is trying to get better, and there are some places in the country where there just aren’t the teachers or technology to make that happen, and were hoping to equalize that,” Codeacademy’s head of business development, Nikhil Abraham, told Betabeat. “We want to provide…access to a future where [kids] know they can provide for themselves and their families.”

Ninth-grader Rebekah Canty, 14, reportedly told Codeacademy she felt it was specifically important for kids in Brooklyn to learn how to code, because it’s not something her peers generally know how to do.

See? Coding isn't scary. (Actually, it's still kind of scary.)

Maybe coding isn’t so scary? (Codeacademy)

Yes, Rebekah, it is great that you know how to code, because now you’ll have a much better chance of getting a job than all your friends majoring in, say, journalism?

“There’s such an enormous gap between unemployment and jobs that go unfilled,” Mr. Abraham said. “We have a hard time finding developers…And the gap is just getting bigger. There are more and more jobs that require a computer science background, and were not graduating enough kids who have that background.”

Mr. Abraham said the Achievement First students expressed a strong interest in studying computer science in college.

And besides enabling students to avoid the tragic fate of all those liberal arts grads out there desperately searching for employment, coding is fun, and helps build kids’ self-confidence, he said, noting the kids’ visible excitement when they were able to program falling snow on their virtual holiday cards.

Next thing we know, they’ll probably be programming the really important stuff, like Shazaam for Faces, and becoming billionaires. Really—I can’t stress enough the importance of Shazaam for Faces, you guys.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com