What do Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Valve founder Gabe Newell, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, and a huge number of Andover High students have in common?

For one thing, they all participated in the 2013 Hour of Code.

Over 21 million students across the country wrote out 718,648,647 lines of code to celebrate national Computer Science Week. The Hour of Code was created by Code.org, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to expanding computer science education”. The organization’s vision is that “computer science should be part of the core curriculum in every school, alongside other science [and] technology courses.”

According to Mrs. Reidy, who is deeply involved with teaching Andover High’s computer science classes, more than 900 students at AHS participated during the week. Students were introduced to basic programming through playing a number of games and puzzles, each one teaching a vital aspect to coding in a way that is fun and engaging for everyone, regardless of prior programming experience.

Danny Kim, a senior currently taking AP Computer Science, commented that he “really enjoyed [Hour of Code]. Coding is an amazing thing to learn about, and [it’s great] to think about how over 900 people [in the school] got to learn and understand what coding really is.”

“It was a fun experience,” said Gauri Narayanan, a sophomore. “I enjoyed the games because they made me think as they got harder. Though real coding is probably much more complicated, this showed me the basic concept of what coding is all about.”

According to Code.org, there will be 1.4 million jobs in the computer science field, with only 400,000 computer science students to fill them. That’s an estimated 500 billion dollars’ worth of job opportunities left open.  Computer science is a top-paying college degree, and jobs in the field are growing at twice the national average.

With a new year upon us, there’s no better time to start learning a new skill. Why not make it computer programming? The future is bright.

By Julius Nevin