Facebook Twitter Store

Reporting on our efforts to increase diversity in computer science

In January, I wrote a post titled The real reason there aren’t more women in tech. In the past months, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, and many other tech companies have openly acknowledged the lack of diversity among their employees.

Code.org’s mission is not only to expand access to computer science in schools, but to broaden participation by underrepresented groups – particularly women, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. With the school year started, I want to report the diversity numbers we’re seeing from our work inside schools.

Bringing computer science to more high schools, focused on equity
This spring we announced agreements with over 30 school districts to offer computer science in schools that didn’t teach it. In partnership with Exploring Computer Science we’ve prepared 316 new teachers who began teaching computer science courses this fall, with an emphasis on equity and diversity. The numbers* speak for themselves and serve as a testament to the great work by our partners:
imageBy comparison, the demographic breakdown of students taking the most recent AP Computer Science exam in high school was 20% females, 17% African American, Hispanic, or other historically underrepresented students. (see preliminary 2014 data from the College Board)

Teaching computer science earlier, even in elementary school
Our Code Studio courses for grades K-8 introduce students at a young age, starting them off with a positive experience, before stereotypes kick in. Compare the enrollment in these courses to the enrollment in high school AP computer science:imageWe can’t wait to see what happens when these young students make it to high school. We hope computer science will see a massive increase in participation as well as in diversity.

The above efforts, along with our state policy efforts, our ongoing work to highlight diverse participants in CS, and the grassroots Hour of Code campaign together form our approach to growing diversity in the field.

Working together, change IS possible
Last year, we joined forces with over 100 partners to launch the Hour of Code campaign. The collective effort of the CS community recruited 41 million students to try an Hour of Code, exposing more girls to computer science than the entire history of the field.

Our efforts build on a foundation laid by the computer science community - organizations such as the CSTA, the NSF, the ACM, and the hard work of thousands of CS teachers. Countless educators have made incredible strides in the diversity of their computer science courses.

The faces of coding and computer science are increasingly female. The stereotype is breaking, and it’s time the world starts paying attention.

Hadi Partovi

P.S. If you want to help: ask your teacher to host an Hour of Code in the classroom. Personally introduce one girl to computer science. Or donate to Code.org.

* Note: reported diversity statistics in high school are calculated from classroom surveys collected from 64% of the participating teachers, approximating the gender and racial diversity of 8,376 students. The comparison to the numbers in AP CS.

CALIFORNIA allows high schools to count computer science towards graduation. It’s about time :-)
Read more

CALIFORNIA allows high schools to count computer science towards graduation. It’s about time :-)

Read more

Sweeping nationwide change: 14 states in 15 months change policies to support computer science

If you slogged through an advanced computer science course in high school a little over a year ago, it likely wouldn’t count as a math or science graduation credit unless you lived in about a dozen US states.

Even as recently as last week, California — the birthplace of some of the most transformative technology in our lives and home to some of the highest paying jobs in tech — only allowed computer science to count as an elective credit. This means it fell into the same bucket as hundreds of other unrelated elective or vocational courses, such as culinary arts, journalism, accounting, or fertilizer-making.

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two changes to computer science education policy. The first allows computer science to count as a mathematics credit for high school graduation if that course fulfills a mathematics requirement for admission to the University of California. The second clarifies pathways for counting computer science for college admissions. These mark an important tipping point: now, nearly 70 percent of the US population lives in states where computer science can count toward high school math or science graduation requirements.

image

We’re happy to celebrate this milestone of policy changes across 14 states in 15 months. It shows widespread support across the political spectrum for expanding access to computer science in K-12 schools and represents important first steps in giving every child access to these foundational skills.

Code.org was just getting off the ground when we began organizing the “Make CS Count” movement with Computing in the Core and a coalition of invaluable partners like Microsoft, the Computer Science Teachers Association, Stand for Children, Google, the National Math and Science Initiative, STEMx, the American Association of University Women, The College Board, TechNet and National Center for Women in Inofmration Technology.

The movement was based on the simple idea that technology plays a fundamental role in our society, and as a result, rigorous computer science courses shouldn’t be electives, but part of the foundational math and science education system that all students have access to.

In May 2013, Code.org’s home state of Washington kicked off this national movement by passing legislation that specified AP Computer Science courses can count toward high school math or science graduation credits. We are proud that our coalition of partners has influenced change in big states, small states, red states and blue states, spanning every region of the country — at an unprecedented pace for education policy.

If this incredible dash means one thing, it’s that we can all agree our children should have access to foundational 21st-century skills in public schools. After all, the number one factor that determines which students pursue degrees in computer science is exposure in high school.

Making computer science count is just a first step. In still 26 US states, high school computer science remains only an elective. And in many states local school districts will need to adopt this new policy as well. Together, we’re working to give students of all backgrounds greater incentive to learn foundational skills that lead to the fastest-growing and highest paying jobs in our economy — across every industry today.

- Cameron Wilson
  COO & VP of Government Affairs, Code.org

Code.org’s team diversity: putting our money where our mouth is

imageAt Code.org, we’re working to solve the diversity problem in computer science education. We already walk the walk when it comes to our own team’s gender diversity. Our team overall is 52% female. Our technical staff (software engineers, technical program managers, computer scientists) is 42% female, including our head of engineering and product, Mona Akmal.

These numbers are much better than the industry average. Growing participation by women in computer science is a key goal of ours, and we realized we couldn’t achieve this if our own team didn’t better reflect the diversity we aim for. Of course, we also have a unique advantage because we hire educators. Eight of our team members (including six among our technical staff) are former teachers, and 76% of teachers are female.

We’re excited to lead our industry in gender diversity. However, we have no African Americans or Hispanics on our team of 30, so we clearly have significant room to improve. We believe transparency in reporting diversity is an important step.

Note: when it comes to technical staff, we are counting full-time software engineers, technical program managers, computer science curriculum writers, and computer science instructors. We consider these stats primarily an outcome of being an education-focused nonprofit that voices a strong interest in growing diversity. This, by nature, attracts a more diverse pool of job applicants who believe in our mission.

Diversity in tech: it’s worst among the software engineers
In January, I wrote a post titled The real reason there aren’t more women in tech. In the past months, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and many other tech companies have openly acknowledged the lack of diversity among their employees: Google’s workforce is only 30% female, LinkedIn is 39% female, and Yahoo! is 37% female.
But a far bleaker picture is the lack of diversity specifically among their technical workforce. Unsurprisingly, diversity at tech companies is worst among the software engineering teams. Check out the numbers.
- Hadi Partovifounder, Code.org

Diversity in tech: it’s worst among the software engineers

In January, I wrote a post titled The real reason there aren’t more women in tech. In the past months, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and many other tech companies have openly acknowledged the lack of diversity among their employees: Google’s workforce is only 30% female, LinkedIn is 39% female, and Yahoo! is 37% female.

But a far bleaker picture is the lack of diversity specifically among their technical workforce. Unsurprisingly, diversity at tech companies is worst among the software engineering teams. Check out the numbers.

- Hadi Partovi
founder, Code.org

Why do we use drag-and-drop programming in beginner Code.org tutorials? Now you now.

Chicago high school students prepare to tutor 4th graders in computer science!

Chicago high school students prepare to tutor 4th graders in computer science!

“Even if it’s not going to become your profession, you can still make cool stuff.”

Student of the Week: From drag-and-drop to NASA

image

image

Lauren Egts
10th grade
Beachwood, OH

A guinea pig  yes, a guinea pig got Lauren into computer science. Her very first project was building a game called “The Great Guinea Pig Escape” with MIT’s Scratch. From there, she experimented with Raspberry Pi and discovered her passion for also introducing younger kids to computer science!

At last year’s Cleveland Maker Faire, where 9th-grade Lauren was sharing her skills with other students, she stumbled upon a computer scientist from NASA who invited her to help out his team. Last summer, she worked exploring the potential of low-cost computing devices for NASA. This year, she’s taking AP Computer Science and recently won a NCWIT Ohio Affiliate Award. Wow.

What’s next for you?
I know that I want to work with computers, but there’s so many different applications of computing that I flat out don’t know what to do! I’m on a robotics team and I’m having a lot of fun programming the ‘bot in Java. I’ve worked at NASA on a Raspberry Pi Video Wall and I got to use a good amount of hardware and software there. I liked them both equally! That just makes it harder!

What would you tell other students about computer science?
I would tell them that it’s a lot of fun, because it is! If you see what cool projects people have come up with, it’s easy to get inspired to create something with code!

Even a quick search of YouTube can yield amazing videos of the awesome things that people have done! Maker Faires are especially great because there you can meet adults that are successful computer scientists and potential mentors. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and tell them what you can do.

Even if you don’t know a lot about programming, it’s easy to get started with a visual programming language, because you don’t have to memorize a ton of syntax and commands. Use your intuition and get started right away!

We’re sharing this story as part of our new Student of the Week series. Kids in cities and towns around the world who are changing the face of computer science. Do you teach a rockstar student? Nominate them to be a Code.org Student of the Week.

All ages, all experience levels. Anybody can learn. 

All ages, all experience levels. Anybody can learn. 

Q

celalongun asked:

I have a K8 class consists of 26 people. k8 completed a course of six people, but I can not get certificates. What do I need in order to reach the K8 certificate. thanks

A

If you have a teacher account, you can print certificates out using the link on the teacher dashboard homepage that says “Print certificates for students who finish this course”

Huge thanks to Atlassian for giving a home to our tiny San Francisco engineering team. 

Huge thanks to Atlassian for giving a home to our tiny San Francisco engineering team. 

We’re so excited to launch Code Studio today. Read about it on techcrunch and try out the courses and apps: http://studio.code.org