Source: The HAND Foundation
Despite our rapidly growing reliance on computers and technology, nine out of ten schools do not offer computer programming classes and less than 2.4% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, fewer than ten years ago. In a murky job climate, computer science jobs are growing at a rate two times the national average and it is the highest paid college degree. Yet, despite this demand, American college students shy away from Computer Science related majors.
These dismal statistics alarmed twin Iranian American brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi, who launched Code.org and donated $1 million each to the organization. Code.org advocates that “every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code.” Since its launch, 3.5 million students have participated in Code.org’s online courses and 13,000 schools have reached out to Code.org for help in building computer science curriculum.
A wide racial and gender disparity also exists in computer science. Last year, of the 26,000 high school students in the U.S. who sat for the Computer Science Advance Placement exam, only fifty students in New York State and four students in Washington State were African-American. Women represent 12% of computer science majors, and that number is rapidly declining.
Two organizations, Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code are working to rectify the disparity. The mission of Girls Who Code is to “educate, inspire, and equip young women with the skills and resources to pursue academic and career opportunities in computing fields.” Their ambitious goal of providing computer science education to 1 million young women by 2020 is backed by Twitter, Intel, GE, eBay, and Google among others.
Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, learned computer programming in college and was excited by the prospect of entering a career in the field. She recalled: “As I pursued my studies [in computer science], feeling culturally isolated: few of my classmates looked like me. While we shared similar aspirations and many good times, there’s much to be said for making any challenging journey with people of the same cultural background.” Kimberly launched Black Girls Code to provide young girls of colors the opportunity to learn programming skills with the hope of inspiring a new generation of innovators.
|Hadi Partovi - Co-founder, CEO of Code.org
Hadi is an entrepreneur and angel investor. Hadi was on the founding teams of Tellme and iLike, and was an investor or early advisor to numerous startups including Facebook, Dropbox, and airbnb.
Ali Partovi - Co-founder of Code.org
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