Why Coding Is “The Literacy Of The Twenty-First Century”

  • With the new year in full swing, many people have revealed a myriad of resolutions. One which I kept seeing pop up in my stream involved coding. Now, I do know a lot of techies and geeks, so this wasn’t too surprising to see, but I did notice a a trend. As tech, social media and entrepreneurism continue to grow and be mainstreamed, seems coding and the DIY mentality might be something that’s as important to put on a resume under skills as Excel or Microsoft Word. CodeCademy.com has gotten a few hundred thousand people sign up for their free “Code Year” proving coding might just be something to add to your bucket list in the near future. I spoke to Co-Founder Zach Sims about its importance and growth:

    When did CC start and what was the inspiration?

    CC started in august 2011. my cofounder ryan (columbia grad in biophysics and computer science who has been programming since he was an early teenager) had taught programming for 4 years in his free time at columbia. I was a product / UX guy at a few startups while I was in school (drop.io before it sold to Facebook, group.me before it sold to Skype), but was always frustrated at not being as good of an engineer as I would have liked. ryan and I teamed up to solve my problem with some of the solutions he learned while teaching.

    How has it grown and what types of people are using it?

    It’s grown tremendously – code year is the best example (~215,000 people signed up in 5 days). we have users in almost every country in the world and from every possible demographic.

    Were you surprised when you found out that Mike Bloomberg jumped on board? What does this say about how coding is changing- reaching mainstream audience?

    We were definitely surprised. Mayor Bloomberg is an american icon – and an entrepreneur. He realizes the importance of programming (as you can see with his attempts to try to turn NYC into more of a tech city).

    What does this mean for 2012 trends- why is coding important to techies and non techies?

    Coding’s important to everyone – it’s the literacy of the twenty-first century.

    How do you teach coding at CC- what’s the process?

    Our lessons are based on teaching methodologies we’ve researched and our own personal experiences with programming. The classes will be structured like traditional codecademy classes (interactive, in the browser, etc.) Courses depend on time length and ability, but should take someone who’s never programmed before something like 4 hours a week. The best answer to this is Peter Norvig’s “Learn To Program in 10 Years” . Doing the bare minimum will lead someone to understand the basics, but doing all the lessons on the site can help lead you to mastery.