“I have this great business idea, but no technical skills to build it.”
This is exactly what I kept hearing all over again when reading hundreds of applications from women, age 14 to 64, who signed up for Rails Girls in Ljubljana and were eager to learn more about how the internet works. Can you imagine what would happen if we gave even a small percentage of those ideas a chance to see the light of the day?
One thing is for sure: the demand for advanced digital skills is increasing. While tech startups are finding it difficult to recruit talent, my peers are finding it harder to get jobs. And our governments are still figuring out what it all means. That is why various individuals and organizations have been quietly starting a revolution. We’ve been volunteering hours, days, weeks, to help our friends and strangers dip their toes into computer programming, embrace technology as a tool for experimentation, play, and even starting your own business.
Mind you, I don’t expect everyone to become a programmer. I’m not a programmer myself. But the more I learn about technology, the better I am at my job, even though it usually involves a lot of writing. And if our kids don’t learn more about technology, the future won’t hold any exciting jobs left for them to do.
The time to act is now. We need to supercharge the learning of advanced digital skills. We need a deeply digital Europe if we want to stand a chance of competing in tomorrow’s world. Actually, in today’s world, we’re already playing catch up.
But I do believe we can catch up together if we share great initiatives, lessons learned, and motivate each other to do more. That’s why we, Neelie’s Young Advisors, started this little experimental project called Europe Code Week. The response has amazed us. In just a month, almost 200 special #codeEU events have been scheduled between November 25-30 to celebrate coding and promote the learning of new digital skills.
Croatia, the youngest EU member state, already has over 20 schools on board, with over 2,000 students and teachers participating. The island of Ireland is also overflowing with coding events for kids, led by the wonderfulCoderDojo movement. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, as other countries, big and small, are not far behind. In just a week, the whole continent will be coding!
It’s not too late to join the movement. You can still organize a lecture, workshop, start a small coding club in your neighborhood. Find somebody who is eager to learn more about computer programming and start passing on your knowledge. And remember, two is a group already!
Join Europe Code Week today: http://codeweek.eu
Written by Alja Isaković
Alja Isaković is an adviser to Neelie Kroes