During National Coding Week, September 14-20, it’s time to bring coding and digital literacy to everybody in a fun and engaging way. Learning digital skills and gaining more knowledge about it helps us make sense of the rapidly changing world around us. The week also encourages us to nurture increasingly essential coding expertise in order to close the skills gap in the United States. This makes for a difficult dynamic, as 92 percent of executives believe American workers are not as skilled as they need to be. Get inspired by the development of coding and computational thinking skills in order to explore new ideas and innovate for the future!
History of National Coding Week
The idea and grassroots movement for National Coding Week began in the UK, founded by former headteacher Richard Rolfe and tech entrepreneur Jordan Love, who was appointed EU Code Week Ambassador for the UK. It took place during the week of September 21, 2014, intending to help adults improve their digital literacy to fill the growing skills gap in the country.
But what is coding, and where did it begin? Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave the way we want it to. Every line of code tells our machines to do something. A document full of lines is called a script, which is designed to carry out a specific job on the computer.
Ada Lovelace, Countess of Lacelace, was an English mathematician and writer who introduced many computer concepts during the 1840s and is generally considered the first computer programmer. She spent 1842 and 1843 translating an article written by the famous mathematician, Charles Babbage, who wanted to use changeable punch cards to store programs on his invention, the Analytic Engine, which was the first computer. She predicted that one day the theoretical computer would be able to play music, as well as chess, which came true! The programming language “Ada” is honorably named after her.
The process of coding began in 1954 when the company Hollerith formed what would one day evolve into International Business Machines (IBM). IBM gave birth to the first-ever high-level programing language when a team led by John Backus invented FORTRAN (i.e. FORmula TRANslation). FORTRAN was originally developed for scientific and engineering programs. It is still used to this day. This programming language gave way to many of the higher-level ones modern programmers use now, such as HTML and C++.
Now, coding is a language that is increasingly important for young people and adults to understand in the globalized world. It can be an intimidating project, which means National Coding Week is the time to help people understand coding and its importance.