WATCH: Can Bill Gates, will.i.am, and Mark Zuckerberg inspire a new generation of coders?
Code.org taps a few big names to get kids to consider a career in the computer sciences
Ask a kid what she wants to be when she grows up, and she'll probably say something ambitious — astronaut! president! — or practical and ubiquitous — lawyer! doctor! But ask directly if our little bright-eyed youngster would consider a career as a computer programmer, and she's likely to respond: "Huh?"
That's where Code.org comes in. The non-profit organization dedicates itself to getting computer programming education into our schools. In the glammed-up promo video above, tech big-shots like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg entertain us with personal coding anecdotes from the time before they were billionaires. There are also some head-scratching appearances from guys like will.i.am ("created the Black Eyed Peas, now taking coding classes") and the Miami Heat's Chris Bosh, who apparently took programming classes in college in case that whole NBA thing didn't work out.
Cameos aside, Code.org's PSA makes a good point. Computers clearly aren't going anywhere — in fact they'll probably be plastered to your face in a year or two. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer jobs ripe for the taking, but only 400,000 computer science students to even qualify. That's a pretty big discrepancy.
If you have coding skills, you'll probably score a nifty paycheck: As The Atlantic Wire notes, software developers in 2010 took home a median pay of $90,000 a year. Plus, maybe you'll get to work in a swanky Silicon Valley office, wear flip-flops everyday, and have the potential to grace a Forbes cover as the next billionaire wunderkind.
If you're looking to start coding, there are always free online tools like Code Academy (which gives you a good grasp of the fundamentals), and MIT's downloadable Scratch program, which lets you mess around with your own interactive games.
Coding, folks — it sure beats going to law school.