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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 in DC and around the country.
It started with one class of 12 students at KIPP NE Academy in Washington, DC in 2013. The program has since expanded to over 30 locations in DC and even more in places like Cleveland, Seattle and Oakland.
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 hopefully be available to students during the school day later in their careers.
Secondly, 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 classroom is 12-15 students, and our semester consists of a minimum of 16 hours of computer science instructional time spread over 8 weeks.
There is a study out of Brigham Young University that demonstrates that participating in a coding program improves academic performance by teaching critical thinking, problem solving and logic. Learning to code has also been shown to improve test scores, especially in math.
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.
According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, computer programmer is the single most in-demand occupation in the Washington, DC region and will be for decades. While many other areas of the country have a lower concentration of information technology jobs, computer programmer is among the fastest growing occupations in America.
Code4Life was explicitly designed to provide the introduction to software development that might spark an interest in pursuing a career in computer programming.
Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce estimates the DC region will create 350,000 hardware and software jobs between now and 2037. About 110,000 of those jobs will not require a four-year college degree. The median salary for those jobs is $72,250. Around the country, it is expected that there will be over a million unfilled software development job by 2023.
For more information on the future of work in the DC region and around the country:
How It Works
Code4Life provides a minimum of 16 hours of instructional time in basic computer programming per academic semester. That generally breaks down to two hours per day, after-school, one day a week for eight consecutive weeks during the semester. However, over the five years we've been delivering the program, we've developed a considerable amount of flexibility in terms of how the program is structured. It's taught before school, after-school, on Saturdays and in the summer.
At the high school level, Code4Life provides 32 hours of instructional time per semester -- broken down as 2 hours per day, one day a week for 16 weeks during the semester.