Kids and Code

coderAmerican students are not learning how to write computer code, at least not at the rate that is typical in other countries such as India and China.  This is extremely bad news for the U.S. economy over the long term; we are not teaching enough computer coders to fill existing jobs, much less future jobs.  And more to the point, this is where the well-paying middle and upper middle class jobs will be, not in the dreadful “service economy.”  How many baristas with Master’s degrees do we need?  Walmart greeters? Uber drivers?

I chalk it up to what I call the “American Idol Syndrome.”  Seems like kids all want to be rock stars or sports stars or movie stars.  What we need is a reality TV program called “American Coder” or “So You Think You Can Hack” that feature the coding exploits of teens and young adults.  Let’s bring back “Robot Wars.”  Think of the possibilities with drones!!

I can’t see why this would not be a hugely successful program, combining elements of the shows above with something like “Shark Tank.”  Look at at the wildly successful nerd shows on TV these days, Big Bang Theory, Scorpion, etc.  We are finally at a place where geeks are the new cool.  So let’s take it to a level where we can promote this idea to our young students.

Below are three articles that speak to different parts of the problem.  Peter Herzog takes a look at the legal issues that demonize and criminalize coding and hacking, and he points to the example of the Ahmed Mohammed, the kid who brought a clock to school but was arrested because his teachers thought it was a bomb.

Peter is also involved with the incredible Hacker Highschool project.

ReadWrite looks at how the school system is failing to teach coding and where this gap is being met by other organizations and the private sector.

The Silicon Valley article talks about the efforts of Code.org  and it’s Hour of Code program.  Those of us who work in technology need to step up and get involved.  If you want to get involved, I have provided links to the Hacker Highschool and Code.org websites.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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