I got into coding through classical music. When I studied it in college, I worked with a researcher who found a way to represent the notation of a large number of musical works digitally. I learned to code by doing various analyses to find patterns that automatically identified specific composers. These programs could distinguish between a Haydn and a Mozart piano sonata, which many musicians can’t even do. Once I saw the power of this skill, I had to learn more! I started taking some computer science (CS) classes, and ended up changing direction entirely from music to CS.
Now, as a VP in Engineering at Google, I work to close the gaps that exist in CS education and access (only 40% of U.S. schools offer CS classes and many kids from underrepresented backgrounds still don’t feel that CS is for them). To combat that, we’ve created programs like CS First and Made With Code that expose kids to computer science and computational thinking at an early age (rather than discovering it later in life like I did), and help them develop those critical skills. And once a year, we rally around Computer Science Education Week, a celebration to inspire students and educators to get excited about where CS can take them (hint: anywhere) and take that first step in learning to code. Since CSEdWeek started back in 2013, we’ve been a proud partner, reaching more than 15 million students and supporting 35,000+ events each year.
Our support continues this year, and we’re doing a lot to celebrate. Today’s homepage features the first-ever interactive coding-themed Doodle, called “Coding for Carrots.” Anyone can try it out by using a simple programming language to solve puzzles. The code continues with an activity from CS First that lets you make your own custom Google logo, or you can try a holiday-themed emoji project from Made with Code.
I hope these activities help kids realize that it’s easy to give coding a try, because so many things in world—from a movie to an amusement park ride—started with code. I wrote about this in a StoryWeaver story called “Coding is Everywhere,” illustrated by my fellow Googler Ma'ayan Rosenzweig. If more kids learned how to code, think about how many cool things we could build!
I found my own passion for coding when I least expected it. This CSEdWeek, try coding for carrots, create your own Google logo or even a holiday emoji. You might discover how exciting coding can be for you.