A Brief History of Learning to Code

I recently ran across this super interesting blog from David Patterson over at UC Berkeley, written almost four years ago.  Take a look at the graph he and Ed Lazowska from U-Dub put together:

 Credit to David Patterson
Credit to David Patterson

To add more color to that graph, Patterson notes that “At Stanford, where more than 90% of undergrads take computer science [note this was from 2013], English majors now take the same rigorous introductory CS course as Computer Science majors.”  I don’t remember my Intro to CS course as being all that easy, so kudos to those English and Philosophy and other majors that dove in!

The fact that the movement to learn computer science, no matter your major or your future, started so long ago shows this trend has legs.  What’s happened since the end of this graph?  Plenty.  An incredibly amazing amount, in fact.  Enough for anyone to feel a little FOMO on a hockey stick:

  • codecademy and codeschool, both founded in 2011,  start the wave of online coding programs for adults (and kids!) to learn how to code.  Kahn Academy and others jump in the fray to get scalable and teach folks everywhere to code!
  • Dev BootCamp is founded in 2012, pioneering a wave of adult “Coding Bootcamps”, crash courses for adults wanting to learn to code and find a job as a developer.  Others like Hack Reactor and Hackbright Academy soon follow, leading to a new industry for training and re-training adults.  (Sadly, Dev Bootcamp is soon closing its doors).
  • Wide reaching organizations like Girls Who Code and code.org are founded in 2012 and 2013, respectively.  These organizations along with newcomers like CSforAll in 2016 have awesome reach around the country and the world in promoting the movement for kids to learn to code.
  • Between 2013-2014, physical location coding schools like U-Code, MVCodeClub, Hackingtons, and our own theCoderSchool start the party with a focus on starting kids coding at a younger age, typically as early as 7 years old.  These physical-location businesses begin sprouting multiple locations, kicking off a wave of many other smaller but growing mom-and-pop coding schools around the country and the world.
  • Kodable (2012), Hopscotch (2013), and a later comer in Scratch Jr. (2016) lead the way in iPad and iPhone apps that gamify and fun-ify learning to code for the even younger set (approx ages 4-9).
  • In 2016, coding schools like us in Silicon Valley, the Ninjas in Houston, and iCode in Dallas begin franchising their concepts to speed expansion using proven systems of teaching.

Did I miss anything?  I’m sure I did, lots more platforms and companies have sprung up in the last 4 years to teach more people to code.  Where are we going?  The only direction is up, and more (is that a direction??).

In 5-10 years, I envision coding schools around the country and the world, one down the block from wherever you live.  Not unlike kung fu studios and tutoring centers, coding schools will find their way into the fabric of all our communities sooner than you think!  And just in time, because it’s high time we all learn a little more coding to support the tsunami of tech that’s coming.  In the final words of David Patterson’s blog from 2013, “Students from all fields want to learn computer science so they can change the world.”  A quote that stands the test of time, indeed.

Code on, friends!

Categorized as Coder Blog

By Hansel

Hansel is the Founder & CEO of theCoderSchool and has been at the heart of it ever since its inception in 2013.