Code Ignite was founded on three central characteristics of code education:
1. Effective code education provides computer science exposure to a diverse population of students and breaks down barriers that may prevent students from pursuing tech fields
2. Computer science is a creative, critical, and collaborative field that teaches skills that are applicable in a variety of other academic content areas. The critical thinking and problem-solving skills used in computer science are assets that every 21st century student should learn.
3. Code education is about not only teaching students how to code, but showing them why coding is important. Computer science is full of opportunities for meaningful, real-world applications, and should be taught with these applications in mind.
The goal of our middle school program is to generate enthusiasm toward computer programming in Nashville youth. Our program is designed to foster problem-solving skills, collaboration, self-efficacy, and confidence. We hope that after participating in our program, our students will feel inspired and empowered to pursue computer science and related STEM fields at a higher level.
Computer science is currently the fastest-growing field in the country: by 2020, there will be over a million unfulfilled CS jobs (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Further, entry-level jobs are high-paying and require only a bachelor’s degree. However, minority groups are severely underrepresented in the field, with just 12% of CS degrees going to women, and 5% going to African Americans (Republic Schools).
A major contributor to this problem is lack of exposure. Many schools, especially those in underprivileged and rural areas, do not offer any form of computer science education. Students who are never exposed to the career opportunities afforded by computer science are unlikely to pursue the subject at a higher level. Students who take AP Computer Science, on the other hand, are 46% more likely to major in CS (College Board). Thus, by providing free computer science education in Nashville schools and after-school programs, Code Ignite volunteers can help deliver a life-changing experience to local youth.