“Programming” isn’t just for lingo for computer geeks anymore. Just look at the boom of Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google. With cell phones, tablets, and laptops being such a vital part of our daily lives, encouraging younger generations to code not only helps them better understand the world they live in, but allows them to tinker with it and maybe even improve upon it, too.
One bright teen mind, 16-year-old Zach Latta, is helping youngsters get more involved with the digital age with his new start-up hackEDU. Through it, he’s enabling high schoolers around the country to start and lead their own computer programming clubs at school. Participating students are learning how to program games, websites, and other projects.
In an interview with The Official Jamby Blog, the ambitious young man said his nonprofit is currently in the pilot phase with seven clubs around the country.
Once the nonprofit is fully launched, the material will be open-source — meaning that it’s free and allows users to build upon the material. Latta says by next semester, hackEDU will be launched in 50 schools around the world.
What Latta is doing is actually very important. Despite the growing demand of computer programmers in the job sector, computer science classes are usually considered electives and not commonly taught alongside core school subjects like math or English. As we previously reported, while there’s a hard push to mainstream basic coding in schools, we might not see it for another few years and only in select states.
That’s why initiatives like hackEDU’s are necessary. Programming clubs might be the only way some kids are exposed to the topic in school. And if we want to find the next generation of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, shouldn’t we bring computer science, in any shape or form, to as many schools as possible?