An Hour of Code

Tim Erickson
Schools all around the country are celebrating the “Hour of Code”, that is being celebrated between December 9th  and December 15th. As of this writing, 163,098,561 lines of code have been written by Students and it’s only the second day of this endeavor. The Hour of Code is being promoted by such prominent individuals as former President Bill Clinton and Marco Rubio; IT legends Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sheryl Sandberg; as well as celebrities and Chris Bosh. It is tremendous that this is a great place to start with promotion of this highly important field. AIM supports this program and it is really core to our mission. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average. Computer Science is the top paying college degree according the Bureau and a National Science Foundation study. Estimates provide us with a 1,000,000 person gap in the need for coders by 2020. That’s only six years away. The need is tremendous. The 2012 College Board study shows that only 0.7% of those in AP courses are enrolled in Computer Sciences. Gaps are significant for women and students of Hispanic and African American origin in the Coding fields. Nine out of 10 schools don’t even offer a computer programming class. In 36 of the 50 states, computer science doesn’t even count towards high school graduation math or science requirements. Given this information, engaging students in an “hour of code” is a great start to fill the gap. AIM is taking on a specific strategy to Motivate, Integrate, and Activate students into Information technology fields and help to create an IT pipeline in each community we are active. We have our work cut out for us. Far too few schools and students are involved in this activity. This is a chance for each and every one of us to help build our future. Participate, donate, promote or assist in this endeavor. As the program states “Learn to Code – anybody can learn.” An article about one of AIM’s Hour of Code events is available here. Next year, we should try to work together with more of our groups, partners and friends to promote this Hour of Code to a greater number of people. We need your help and suggestions. It seems like a small step but an important one.