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17 December 2015

Hour of Code: Who is going to build our future?

Written by: Justin Westcott, General Manager at Edelman

Innovation, Technology

Here is an interesting statistic I heard at the recent Web Summit in Dublin: the starting salary for a Data Scientist today is $200,000. Yes, I thought that might grab your attention.

This is macro-economics at its simplest: supply and demand. The world wants, and needs, this type of talent to compete and to progress, yet the talent available is not keeping pace with demand. In the U.S. just 1 in 4 schools are teaching computer science.

The likes of The Wall Street Journal have previously written on the issue, proclaiming that “mothers should tell their children to become coders” in order to capitalise on this great shortage.

We are entering an age of exponential growth in technology that is making obsolete entire industries at a staggering pace, yet it is clear our ability to develop talent is not advancing at such multiples.

As every company increasingly becomes a technology company, of some description, this supply and demand issue is set to only heighten.

There are many views and thoughts on the solutions, but one simple truth is the world needs more people with the right skills to enter the field.

Code.org is one not-for-profit organisation that is taking this seriously. Championed for the past two years by tech leaders such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Wozniak, among many others, the organisation is dedicated to expanding access to computer science, attracting a significantly more diverse group of global coders and inspiring them to keep learning.

Each year, the organisation draws attentions to its cause with a global event – The Hour of Code Week (Dec 7-13); tasking everyone with a simple mission, to pledge to code for one hour. That’s it. Simple. They make it easy, entertaining and achievable for novices from all walks of life, from ages 6-106, by offering tutorials with fun games, exercises and plenty of feedback and guidance.

This year Edelman’s global technology sector team came out in full support.

From taking #codies to Coding pizza parties and building “coding booths” in the office these were just some of the fun ways offices participated in the Hour of Code movement.

The takeaway, coding is important but it’s also fun and accessible. Code.org has developed engaging tutorials to get you started. You can build a house, create a snowflake, mine for gold or even build a spaceship. Best of all, the  “official week” of Hour of Code is just a kick-off and the tutorials stay up online for all here.

I encourage everyone to give coding a try. Perhaps the future will be built by you?

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