Code4Life Expanding to Seattle

By Dave Oberting

Winners of the Code4Life competition at DC's Excel Academy.

Winners of the Code4Life competition at DC's Excel Academy.

Code4Life is an out-of-school-time program created by the Economic Growth DC Foundation in partnership with Accenture that teaches basic computer programming skills to K-12 students across the country.

It got its start at KIPP NE Academy in Washington, DC in 2013.

The program has since expanded to over 25 schools in DC and even more in places like Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond and New York. We will be entering the Columbus market in the spring.

The program is unique among its peers such as Girls Who Code in two ways:

First, our curriculum is aligned to the AP Computer Science Principles. Participation in our program is direct preparation for the for-credit computer science electives that will be available to them in the future.

Second, we use a paid instructor model. Most coding programs rely on volunteers to teach their curriculum, but an all-volunteer model is difficult to sustain. Instead, we recruit, hire and train instructors, then send them to your facility to teach our curriculum.

Our model provides for higher-quality instructors and more accountability. A semester consists of 16 hours of instructional time, which breaks down to two hours, after-school, one day a week for eight weeks.

There are over a million computer programming jobs that go unfilled in the U.S. every year. The average starting salary for an entry-level computer programmer job that doesn’t require a four-year degree is $79,250.

The primary benefit of participating in Code4Life at a young age is that it demystifies computer programming and opens the door to a career in computer science.

There is also a study out of Brigham Young University that demonstrates that participating in a coding program improves academic performance. It teaches critical thinking, problem solving and logic. Coding has also been shown to improve test scores, especially in math.

A students presenting her final project at Center City Congress Heights PCS.

A students presenting her final project at Center City Congress Heights PCS.

As Code4Life expands, it has moved from middle-school into high school and we are planning a full-time, 26 week, post-secondary boot camp style career training program that will lead directly to a job as an entry-level software developer. Students who participate in Code4Life from a young age will be granted preferential admission to the post-secondary program.

For more information about the program, the curriculum and demographics, visit our website at

If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to call me at 202.670.4403 or email me at

Dave Oberting is the executive director and founder of Code4Life.