I’m not a programmer. What I know about programming, I learned most of it in the last three months. Not from one of these expensive coding bootcamps, but from free online tutorials and many searches on Stack Overflow. But precisely because of my background and lack of formal coding education, I feel I have something to contribute to programming education. My entire career has been in the tech industry. I’m one of the founders of Yahoo! Answers — the world’s largest Q&A site, was product manager for Google’s AI project working for Ray Kurzweil, and have been involved in many software product launches, both consumer and enterprise, desktop and mobile, startup to corporate behemoths. Throughout, I never coded. I took some Java classes here and there, but it was never necessary for me to code to have a great career in tech & software. While there may be dissenters, I think most engineers who have worked with me would rate me as a decent product manager. I could discuss scalability and machine learning with the best engineers at Google, but I never needed to implement a single HTML page. I quit my full time job in July to start my own startup bootstrap-style. I started to learn coding simply because I didn’t have any money to hire an engineer, and my ideas were still too conceptual to look for a co-founder. But the last 3 months in self coding education opened up a whole new vista for me. Simple HTML/CSS/Javascript enabled me to create multiple websites on my own. (And I didn’t have to write a complicated requirements document for an engineer to implement it!) I learned enough Python/Django to create a directory-based web app with a search engine. Its all horrible, non-elegant code with lots of cut/paste from Stack Overflow. But its been so liberating to feel CREATIVE — to see ideas turn into actual things with a few lines of code. In fact, the 3 months of coding education has been such a transformative experience for me, that I’ve changed the focus of my startup to be a coding school for kids and others who have never coded before. I want other people to be aware of the incredible potential of coding, not just as a career, but as a lifelong skill/interest, much like painting or playing the piano. It is truly mind boggling how much free material is out there in learning how to code. Just going through w3school pages from start to finish will give you a comprehensive tutorial on HTML/CSS and Javascript. Stack Overflow can be like a personal tutorial from the best coders in the business. But so why is there such a big gap between the demand and supply for software engineers? (Demand of 1.4 million coders by 2020 vs Supply of only 400K computer science grads projected)? Or why do people shell out $12K on avg to these coding bootcamps? I think the biggest element that is lacking in today’s coding education is not lack of materials, or great online course software. Its MOTIVATION. Today, programming education is either: super dry, technical presentation of theory and the math behind algorithms(computer science degrees at university) cram schools for lucrative career skills that you acquire in a hurry to boost your income (coding bootcamps) a game/toy builder that are offered to kids in expensive summer camps or one hour a year (ID Tech summer camps that teach Scratch) But I think more people and kids in particular will adopt coding as a lifelong interest if its presented as a TOOL FOR CREATION. Just like literacy opens up the whole world of books, coding literacy opens up a whole world of being able to create websites, apps, games and even little robots. To be clear, Code.org is an awesome initiative and I know great people who are involved in it. But I think there seems to be a belief in the courses they offer that to teach computer science to kids, it has to be a game or a toy. Their solutions focus on the user interface problem and not in how we motivate the REASON TO LEARN coding. Its like trying to teach painting by teaching exclusively through Paint-By-Numbers. I think it shortchanges how coding can be taught to kids. So this month I’m starting a coding school called Penguin Coding School. Its going to start small with just a few kids, but it will aim to teach not only the mechanics of coding, but embed in them a life-long interest and passion for coding as a tool for creation. Yumio Saneyoshi, Founder of Penguin Coding School Penguin Coding School believes “Anyone Can Code” in honor of the Disney movie Ratatouille’s quote — “Anyone Can Cook”. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382932/quotes