By Clair Deevy, Microsoft Citizenship Lead, Asia Pacific
It’s no secret that we live in one of the most diverse regions in the world here in Asia Pacific. We are home to 60 percent of the world’s young people, we have seven time zones and a huge diversity of cultures and traditions. Not to mention the fact that more than 2000 languages are spoken here!
What we have in common is a passion for creation and innovation that in recent history has really started to come into its own. We see an opportunity to not just be the place where things are outsourced to be made but the place where things are invented and created. So imagine if we could have a common language to spark our creative juices?
Learning to code opens up a world of opportunities—just ask the guys who recently sold Whatsapp! That is why we are partnering with nonprofit Code.org to launch the Asia Pacific Week of Code, 21-27 April, through our YouthSpark Initiative. We will be promoting the learning of code by inviting everyone, beginners to advanced coders, to do an Hour of Code or more, and for the pros and more experienced to hold a hackathon.
We’ve launched wespeakcode.net where students can take interactive courses (fancy designing Angry Birds?), teachers can organise coding workshops using our kits and everyone can swap tips and share photos on what they do through social networks. You can also sign a petition to ask for computer science to be added to your school’s curriculum.
Anyone and everyone can join us, but most of all I hope the young people of Asia Pacific jump in and learn this great skill. Let’s not forget that of the total number of youth globally who are not currently in education, training or employment, an alarming proportion (62 percent) are in this region. Maybe this activity could be the path that leads them to be better qualified for employment and entrepreneurial activities.
Coding can come in handy in so many ways. I’m proud to say I learnt to code as a kid (on a Commodore 64), rediscovered my love of coding through HTML in my first after-school job in a government agency and went on to build customisable Excel spreadsheets while working in public relations. So you never know where coding may take you!
Technology lets you be a creator and an architect. Imagine if all young people understood just how powerful learning to code could be. What problems could they solve? What businesses might they start? What fun could they have?
I hope “code” will be added to the curriculum in every school. I hope more women jump in and learn to code. And, I hope you do an Hour of Code, so you can join us on social media to proudly say #WeSpeakCode!
Imagine if all young people understood just how powerful learning to code could be. What problems could they solve? What businesses might they start? What fun could they have?
Clair Deevy, Microsoft Citizenship Lead, Asia Pacific