Investors Find Fresh Opportunities in Coding Education

Angel investors are giving CodeHS a chance to spread its programming wings to more schools.

Student interest in computer science has hit its stride, and the sky is the limit for investors seeking to get in on the ground floor for the next big movement in education.

CodeHS, a startup that offers interactive programming classes, recently raised $1.75 million from several investors to expand its educational programs to more schools, according to a blog post from company co-founder Jeremy Keeshin.

Computer science education is booming, Keeshin says. Coding classes are being made more accessible and more fun for all ages.

Karel
Photo: CodeHS

Karel is a mechanical dog that can be programmed to do basic tasks through introductory programming courses taught by CodeHS.

"We like to say ‘Read Write Code’  —  to us that means that coding is now a foundational skill like reading and writing," Keeshin wrote.

CodeHS offers schools a "class in a box" featuring online, introductory computer programming lessons for students with tools to help teachers manage the class. The company is working on a Web-based AP Computer Science course for Java — one of the programming languages with the longest legs, according to a 2014 infographic by WhoIsHostingThis.

Startups similar to CodeHS, like Codecademy, are finding success in widening the door to knowledge of basic programming skills. In 2012, Codecademy raised $10 million from investors seizing opportunity in the burgeoning computer science education marketplace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.4 million new computer science-related jobs will be created by 2020, with only 400,000 graduates with the skills to fill those positions.

But those numbers could change, given recent efforts to jumpstart student interest in the field. During Computer Science Education Week in 2014, Code.org’s second Hour of Code event drew more than 60 million participants around the world.

The flood of interest is also spreading into higher education. An introductory computer science course for undergraduates at Harvard last fall broke the prestigious school's course registration record after more than 800 students enrolled, accounting for 12 percent of the student body.

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Jan 29 2015

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