Code Year: Get With the Computer Programming

Computer programming languages might as well be Greek to most people, but the new adult curriculum “Code Year” aims to change that.

| May/June 2012

Rather than springing from molten steel and elbow grease, the next lucrative phase of America’s economy will likely be cobbled together from ones and zeroes. Welcome to the mysterious world of computer programming. “In a world where tech-savvy people are deemed nerds,” writes Liz Dwyer on the website of Good (January 10, 2012), “it’s not easy to convince the average person they can learn programming.” It’s true. In the language of the ever-expanding digital world, most of us babble at best.

Enter Code Year, the brainchild of two entrepreneurial computer geeks who “believe basic programming skills are as essential to 21st-century life as being literate.” A free online software programming course, Code Year aims to teach the nuts and bolts of website and videogame development in 12 months to total beginners.

The interactive curriculum starts with a popular coding language, JavaScript, and guides users from straightforward tasks like basic math to complicated functions like managing an address book programmed from scratch. Code Year lessons are delivered via email once a week to keep you motivated, but not overwhelmed.

A code-literate populace may shift prevailing notions of blue-collar work—so much that we’ll come to associate manual labor with fingers pounding away at a keyboard.