January 9, 2012
NY Mayor Bloomberg Signs-Up For Free Programming Courses
One of the world´s most well-known and wealthiest mayors is teaming up with some 180,000 fellow Americans to participate in an educational project initiated by a start-up company that calls itself Codecademy. With their campaign for 2012 called Code Year, they intend to encourage more average Americans to get into software programming by offering free online lessons.
Participants in the program will receive emails every week containing an interactive lesson, and the company promises that its programming newbies will be “building apps and websites before [they] know it!”
“My New Year´s resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012!” Mr. Bloomberg wrote over Twitter last week.
While it remains dubious as to whether Bloomberg´s busy schedule will ever actually permit him to get into programming in any depth, the average American has a bit more time on his or her hands to put to constructive use.
“There are a lot of people who want to make New Year´s resolutions they´ll stick to,” explained co-founder of Codecademy Zach Sims to CNN's Laurie Segall. “This is something they can use and learn.”
Participants received their first email coding lessons today, and although digital learning is a notoriously solitary experience, the organization promises that its users will get lots of technical support and encouragement.
“We´ll walk people along the path while they're doing it,” promised Sims.
The Twitter hashtag #codeyear is already abuzz with feverish tweets from excited rookie programmers.
While by far the largest project yet undertaken by the fledgling organization, Codecademy has already launched a number of free, self-paced online courses since it launched its website in August of last year.
The Code Year project was only conceived of less than a month ago. Yet convinced that it had the potential to be a hit and that the new year would be the ideal time to launch, Codecademy scrambled to get the project together in time, eventually enlisting the help of several other digital tech communities like TechStars, HackNY and Y Combinato.
Summing up the purpose of the campaign, Sims said the company´s founders had harnessed their own frustrations over learning how to program and decided to design an easier way to learn the increasingly valuable skill for the broader public.
Mr. Sims added that in an increasingly digitized and tech-savvy world, programming skills are becoming a much sought-after asset by employers, noting that even basic-level skills can make the difference between two rÃ©sumÃ©s in an increasingly competitive job market.
The new skills could even help Mayor Bloomberg add another notch to his already successful professional belt when his term ends in 2013.
Foursquare chief engineer Harry Heymann responded to Bloomberg´s tweet with a promise of future employment: “When you´re done being mayor, we´ll get you set up with an interview to join the @foursquare engineering team.”
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