Computer literacy is a crucial skill for students to learn. Coding requires student to think and write logically, to deconstruct problems, and to persevere through challenging problems. These skills are crucial to doing work in the innovation economy, regardless of whether you write software professionally. I believe every k-12 student should grapple with the principles of computer science.
Today I had the privilege of representing my firm at the CS Fair NYC. Over 2,000 NYC high school students from 65+ schools came to the armory to talk to local colleges and people working in the tech field. This is an incredibly diverse group of students, and they all have a shared interest in CS. The fair is part of the Computer Science For All initiative – a 10 year $80m plan to bring CS to every NYC public school student.
So, what did I learn talking to students today?
I was surprised by the diversity in the programs offered across the schools. Some students started with front end, others with the back end. Some were working on visual programing while others were in robotics programs. Here is a list of languages that students told me they were working on:
Some students were learning how to program robots, others were building static websites, and some were working on scripting and data analysis. A few girls I talked to were teaching themselves photoshop and illustrator on the side so they could create artwork for their custom coded sites. One sophomore told me that he was learning arduino so he could start making his own wearables. Many of the students were introduced to coding through FIRST Robotics, which I thought was pretty awesome.
My biggest surprise was that some of the CS Teachers had no programming experience before teaching coding. One Latin teacher told me he’s been using ScriptEd and learning along with his students. I was talking to him and one of his freshman yelled “he’s the best, he’s struggling with us.” I couldn’t help but smile at that… In that classroom the teacher isn’t an expert and doesn’t have all the answers, but he’s right there with his students struggling to learn coding and take on something new.
Today 2,000 NYC high school students got to talk with people working in the tech field and learn about the opportunities that are in front of them if they keep working hard in school.
It was a blast spending the morning with them!