Coming to the NTC? Good stuff. Do you have a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Great. Then you should attend the “Hour of Code” workshop to learn how stuff works, like our smartphones and the software that runs them.
Through the Hour of Code, a global movement reaching 190,000,00 people so far, students from the age of 4 to 104 have learned about code using hands-on tutorials offered in over 40 languages. The event is so popular that 200,000 events have been held! Even President Obama has participated in this one-hour introduction to computer science, with the intent of demystifying code and teaching the basics.
So what will you learn? The focus will be on problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity–skills we all use in our nonprofit work already every day! While you won’t walk away with the ability to code a website or app from scratch, you’ll know more about the code behind almost everything we use or touch in our modern world, and some of the coding concepts that will make you successful in your career, whether you choose to become a developer or not. Most importantly, you’ll learn that anyone can code! If you have any doubts in your abilities (as I did), or even questions about what code is and what it looks like and what it means, this is a great place to begin exploring those questions.
What does this workshop represent at the NTC? A few things: an opportunity to try something new, or something you haven’t done in a while. It also means, particularly in 2016, there’s no longer a need for a divide between a ‘program’ staff person and a ‘technical’ staff person–you can be both! At the very least, program, fundraising, and technical/operations staff should all be able to speak with each other using the same language, and the Hour of Code can help with that. For example, let’s say you’re working on migrating your constituent data into a new database. Once your donor, volunteer, and funder data is in the database, you’d like to be able to send emails to each of those groups, but you don’t want any one person to receive both emails. The developer comes to you and says this will take many hours to accomplish. If you’re the Communications Director working on this project with a limited budget and tight timeline, being able to ask questions such as, “Will the code be documented?” and, “What coding language will you be using?” and, “Will I be able to update the code myself?” can help your organization decide if you should change your requirements or proceed with using custom code. And we all want to know exactly what we’re getting into with expensive custom projects, right?
What do you need to know? No experience needed. If you don’t have a laptop or browser-enabled device, come anyway! We will pair you with someone who has a device–it’s the best way to learn!
Want more info? Want to start your own Hour of Code? The Hour of Code website has everything you need to create your own event at your local nonprofit, community center, conference, synagogue, meet-up, etc! You do not need to be a developer, and there are even ways you can host an activity with poor wireless access or even no Internet access at all!
A word on Diversity in Tech: Code.org, the great nonprofit behind Hour of Code, is dedicated to expanding access to computer science, especially among women and underrepresented people of color. Come learn how you can further this effort to increase diversity in computer science, but most importantly, come learn!