Our Turn: Hour of Code
This is the 21st century and there is programming all around us. It is not only in the obvious things like computers, but also in TVs and even cars. Programming is the language of computers. It’s pretty much what makes them do the stuff they do. However, there is an issue that is showing up: A lack of people learning the computer science skills that are needed for the demand for computer jobs in the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available in 2020, but only 400,000 computer science students to fill the jobs. For many it means the next game won’t come out. Personally, I am happy about the programming in the safety systems in cars, trains, and planes.
Last week NCSS students participated in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a project started by Code.org. Code.org is a non-profit organization funded by major companies in the technology industry like Microsoft and Google. This organization is dedicated to teaching kids at a younger age about computer programming, and encouraging racial and gender diversity in the programming community. The reason for teaching kids code at a younger age is because of the huge demand for programming jobs as I mentioned before, however there is a very low number of people willing to learn how to program. The main reason for this is that the majority of the population has the idea that programming is too hard for them to learn. Code.org addresses this right away on the website. The site has games that teach the conceptual part of coding. The concept is pretty much that the computer does exactly what you say, no more and no less.
For the Hour of Code I used a program called Scratch. With it I made a simple pong like game. The paddles worked with the arrow keys. The computer opponent was just a paddle that followed the ball. The ball just moved and bounced off of walls. If the ball got past your opponent, you gained a point. If the ball got past you a point was lost. I even included a way for the game to play itself.
By participating in the Hour of Code I learned that coding is not has hard as people believe or as easy as the movies make it look, but the most important thing is to give it a try and see if it’s something you may be interested in learning how to do.