By Bill Liao
The great Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Yet in a time when nearly all human activity is reliant on the magic of computer software, entire generations of kids are not learning to program until far too late, and the dropout rate for computer science degrees is routinely 50 percent. We have a global shortage of good programmers, and many startup companies simply fail for want of decent programming talent.
I co-founded CoderDojo two years ago to address this crisis and it has had a phenomenal impact. But it needs more supporters to continue its mission.
Programming is a language skill, and the best programmers are poets in that they have an economy of expression like that of a haiku master. The very best programmers learned their skills at a young enough age to be totally native speakers of code, and the best of them also have excellent teaming and collaboration skills. CoderDojo is an entirely open source collaboration that provides open free learning to kids aged seven through 17, and it thrives with the passion and involvement of professionals from the computer industry.
Through the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) model and other initiatives, IBM is a leading supporter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. The P-TECH model is based on a highly structured approach to education that requires the collaboration of businesses, school systems and communities.