Social media service provider Facebook has got together with #YesWeCode, a non-profit initiative that targets low opportunity youth and providing them with the necessary resources and tools to become world class computer programmers, in sponsoring this year’s hackathon at Tech Village. The event is expected to take place over a weekend and is targeting approximately 500,000 visitors.
#YesWeCode is the brainchild of the CNN ‘Crossfire’ author, host and former White House advisor Van Jones. This non-profit initiative seeks to teach 100,000 low-opportunity youth from all over the country how to code by pairing them with local Apple multi boot utilities, boot camps. The aim is to shift the trajectory of these young people’s future and transform their relationship with their communities and country.
Coding refers to the practice of utilizing a programming language that commands computers on how to function. Utilizing this skill is the prerequisite to the creation of mobile apps, online games and websites that are all so popular today.
According to #YesWeCode founder Van Jones, coding is the new literacy established by our ancestors soon after they got out of slavery, many who could not read or write. He explains that they quickly established institutions to educate themselves since they were aware of the need to be literate.
Jones stresses the need to focus on the new literacy adding that every business is going to end up being technology based because technology is entrenched in everything and that we are headed toward a world of code or being coded.
A panel of judges has been set aside to decide the winners at the #YesWeCode’s Essence Music Festival hackathon. The event features 100 young people using their newly acquired coding skills to create softwares and apps. Facebook comes in as a co-sponsor of the top prize which includes $10,000 worth of app support. A pair of Beats by Dre headphones will also make part of the top prize.
Facebook Inc. is interested in finding more diversity; according to Maxine Williams, the social media company’s Global Head of Diversity and a judge for the Black Girls Code hackfest. She explains that they understand that having more diverse perspectives results in better outcomes, adding that the company is interested in making the world more connected with this Facebook-#YesWeCode collaboration being an obvious opportunity to take advantage of.
Facebook and #YesWeCode are not exactly pure strangers. Sources report that the media giant was also deeply involved in developing the recently launched search feature on #YesWeCode’s website to help connect interested young people with coding boot camps as well as opportunities for employment.
#YesWeCode’s mission of getting these young future coders into tech industry jobs and entrepreneurial ventures has already started yielding fruits: young people from different races are already becoming affluent after building apps that solve their communities’ problems. Some of these apps include Über which helps people get car service; another one is an app that sends reminders of upcoming court dates.