Py Offers a Class Not in Most American Schools: How to Code

June 15, 2017 - 3 minutes read

Here at Dogtown Media, we’re passionate about computer science education reform. It’s not just that we want to prepare the next generation of mobile app developers — it’s much bigger than that. Without more access to computer science education, Americans risk falling behind as innovators and major players in the world economy. There are currently half a million computing jobs in America with nobody to fill them, and by 2024, that number is expected to surpass one million. The American education system has been slow to address this problem; only a quarter of American schools offer a class that focuses on computer science, leaving much of our children to discover coding on their own. And that’s not to mention the millions of adults now eager to learn coding who were unable to learn it during their schooling years.

So what can be done? The mobile app developer community can try to influence politics (and Dogtown Media pushed for computer science reform in the capital at this year’s AppCon), but it can also do what it does best and try to solve the problem on its own, in its own way. That’s where an app like Py comes in. Developed by two computer science majors, one a recent graduate (congratulations!), Py teaches users the basics of coding, currently offering around 10 free courses that use gamification elements to draw in learners. The app was recently featured in the App Store and has recently been released for Android devices.

Py’s fun but intensive curriculum focuses on the building blocks future developers need to build a website or an app, teaching the basics of Javascript, HTML, Python and Swift. Additionally, it provides practical advice, like how to handle an interview for a coding job (something many New York City mobile app developers probably wish they had back when they were starting out). The app is one of Y Combinator’s startup darlings this summer, and it has also received backing from the Yale Venture Creation Program, who has chipped in $100K to help Py’s mission of promoting and democratizing coding education. There are plans for intermediate and advance courses in the future, and a monetization plan too, of course, that would unlock new courses and offer “live mentoring” from experts in software engineering. While there are many other learn-to-code apps out there, Py seems very promising in its early stages. If the American education system won’t step up and teach computer science, leave it to startups to step in and fill the need.

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