Outsmarted by a 13 year old (The Hour of Code)
By: Caroline Goldman, Business Development Representative, Salesforce Australia
A few weeks ago, I got to go to work and play computer games. Actually, let me rephrase that…. I got to go to work and build computer games. Now before I begin, I should make it clear that I’m a 30 year old female with no previous I.T / “techy” experience. But I managed to build out an Angry Birds and a Plants vs. Zombies game in less than an hour!
This is thanks to a great initiative called “Hour of Code,” supported by all the big names in the tech industry – companies including Salesforce (of course that one had to come first!) and Google, and individuals including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics (as quoted on the website, this includes “Ages 4 to 104” – maybe I’ll try teaching my 95 year old grandfather!). The exercise is fun and easy and is designed to show that just about anyone can learn introductory computer science.
And it’s not just here in Australia – this global movement is reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries, helping encourage the upcoming generation to get involved and become more hands on in technology, which is ultimately changing the world that they are growing up in.
Through Salesforce and Salesforce.org, I recently had a fantastic opportunity to participate in an event held in our Sydney office, targeted at this promising young generation. We had a group of 15 teenagers come into our office (with the disclaimer that “teenagers are involved, things may not go according to plan!”). They were welcomed into our office and given the opportunity to learn about jobs in the tech industry – emphasising that it’s not just for ‘computer geeks’(!), but a multitude of roles across sales, marketing, solutions engineers, customer service, events etc. We took the students on a tour around the office – they were particularly excited by the vast amount of sugary treats at every possible area of our office – and they were given the opportunity to ask us all of their questions.
We also had the chance to help them through the “Hour of Code” session to build out their own computer games – and I’m fairly sure that the young lady that I was “assisting” was possibly faster and more skillful at completing it than I was!!
Luckily for myself and for all of the staff that volunteered on the day, all of the students were extremely interested in what they saw and heard. We were able to impart valuable knowledge and encourage them to look beyond the typical roles that their parents may have mapped out for them in accounting, medicine or law, and to put the tech industry on their radars as a worthwhile career to investigate.
Interestingly and somewhat surprisingly, there seemed to be a lack of focus in their education for putting technology on the map and for encouraging women into the industry – with only 2 females in the room out of 15 students.
Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to participating in the next “Hour of Code” event that we’re hosting here at our offices for a group of female students, with the hope that in the years to come, technology will be just as popular as economics or medicine as subjects to pursue, and that we can change the way the technology industry is perceived, one student at a time.
Coding Sessions at Salesforce World Tour Melbourne:
Interested in learning more about the Hour of Code? Make sure to register for the Salesforce World Tour Melbourne where you’ll get to hear from a number of organisations involved in coding initiatives across Australia. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to hear the latest Salesforce developments for nonprofits and network with some of Australia’s top nonprofit organisations.
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