So I was sitting at my desk last night thinking about ways that we could show people what we really care about. I figured why not write a blog post about the problem we are actually trying to address. I am strongly of the opinion that right now in this current climate we as a society aren't doing enough to fix this issue. The issue; coding is STILL portrayed as a daunting subject that is difficult to grasp and difficult to learn especially for kids.
Although there has been a number of efforts (codeacademy, code.org, coderdojo) a lot of people simply do not understand children's views on coding. Unless you understand this standpoint and viewpoint you will never be able to teach the masses coding. Of course the certain few will find it easy and be coding full scale apps by the age of ten. But it is the kids that don't find it easy, that aren't naturally problem solvers, that don't get the best opportunities, that don't excel in maths, science, engineering or technology that are being left behind. Our entire mission is based around teaching ALL kids coding. Making it accessible for ALL kids and not just the minute few.
In a 2013 study, Code.org found that by the year 2020 there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than skilled workers to fill them roles. In the same study the large code learning company remarked:
"By 2020, computer-related employment is expected to rise by 22 percent. That means students must be ready to enter a workforce that expects them to have polished technological skills."
And its not just the stats that are telling us that teaching kids how to code is vital for the future. Industry leaders like Zuckerberg, Gates, Dorsey, Musk and the rest are telling us - we NEED skilled coders and it starts now.
The question on everyone's mind is; How can we effectively teach kids coding in a fun and intuitive way so that in five-ten years time we will have a generation that can make anything malleable? We are constantly working in order to improve the product and experience to get to this point.
Over the last year, we have spent hours upon hours of our time in the classroom with kids. Not to expand the business, not to make a profit, but to UNDERSTAND the children. We didn't want to jump straight into building a platform for code-learning without actually understanding who we are trying to teach? Anyone that does this may make a quick buck on the side but what we are trying to achieve here is bigger than a quick buck. We have built our current product - Alpha Kit, in order to UNDERSTAND our users.
This has lead us onto more exciting things that will be released in due time. However if we didn't spend these days in hard slog sitting in a classroom and teaching kids for next to nothing we would never have been able to work on the more exciting things. We would still be trying to figure out where to go with this business and we would still be trying to figure out how we can get kids to code.
We come from a very real and sincere position with Robotify. I know for myself I was introduced to coding a few years ago at the age of about 15 by a computers teacher in my school. He used to take HTML and CSS classes every Thursday on his own time after school. As the weeks went by I started getting hooked. The fact that I could actually create something that really was mine was something so abstract and amazing to me and to be honest I couldn't believe it. That was where my journey began.
As the years have gone by I have expanded my knowledge but have also gained a huge interest for the entrepreneurial side of things, this is another advantage of code learning. ANYONE can be an entrepreneur.
Honestly, during this time I developed a real passion for making things better. I realised and felt what it was like to be a young person trying to learn in a world of daunting lines of code, crappy tutorials and harshly taught courses. A lot of the time I didn't have a clue where to look. Most of what I know about software, graphic design and business came from trial and error. I realised that there had to be a better way to do things, an easier way. Coding is like any language but the way it is taught right now is setting it up for failure.
Where do I see coding in five years? If things were to change and the way coding is taught in schools and in courses and online, I see that gap of 1 million job vacancies in the sector getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
Anyways, there's my two cents on the problem. But I can assure you, as somebody who has been through the struggle and been daunted by coding, we are working with all of our passion and heart to make the world of STEM easy and accessible by ALL KIDS.