Empowering Change: Programming Literacy for All
April 12, 2013 by Richard Schneeman
There has never been a better time to be a programmer. Every day more and more gadgets get connected or over-clocked. Programming is so prevalent that it often goes unnoticed in our daily lives. Whether we're scripting out social presence with IFTTT, or doing taxes with Excel, automation and programming has become an inescapable part of the modern world.
Heroku believes that to invest in our future, we must invest in programming literacy. While we're waiting for recursion to be a staple in our children’s classrooms, we can work on continuing and higher education today.
Heroku engineers are given opportunities and encouragement to be part of this movement. They’ve done so through supporting and participating in a number of groups including Hungry academy, Rails Girls, PyLadies, and more.
As a Heroku engineer I had a recent opportunity to teach a class in Ruby on Rails at the University of Texas in Austin. While nothing beats an in-classroom experience, it's not modular or scalable. In an effort to further scale programming literacy, we’ve been working to make this content available for everyone. After many re-takes, re-writes and hours of editing, we are happy to provide you with over 40 hours of video, lectures, exercises and quizes for free: Heroku Presents: UT on Rails.
The course will take a brand new developer up through the ranks, until they can build and deploy a fully functional website. If you or someone you know is interested in learning web programming, it's a great opportunity.
At Heroku, we are encouraged to get involved with our respective communities. While we dogfood our product on a daily basis, there is no substitute for seeing how other developers actually work with it.
Developers don't have to teach a full length course to get involved with their communities. We've had developers help out at a number of community sponsored events that focus on getting more people engaged with technology. One of them, Rails Girls, has been so successful that we've had engineers participate at events in over 6 different countries.
By staying connected, we help a new generation of programmers while making our own products better. It's a win-win situation.
Learning is a feedback loop. You take an action, see the result, learn a lesson. The smaller the loop, the less time from action to result: the quicker you learn, the faster you advance. For students, using Heroku means they can spend less time worrying about their production environments and more focusing on their application logic.
Millions of application developers choose Heroku to get their features to market as quickly as possible. It's that same speed of delivery and deployment that also makes Heroku a natural choice for beginners.
As we move further into an ever-connected society, developers and companies must do their part to promote programming and technology in the classroom. While the demand for tech jobs seems to be constantly increasing, where will tomorrow's senior developers come from? Perhaps they will come from programs like Let’s Learn Python at this years PyCon or through intensive focus courses like those offered by gSchool, or perhaps from general education courses. Wherever the next generation of programmers comes from, we want to set them up to succeed.
Heroku has always had a free tier which is perfect for prototyping and learning. Putting the right tools in a student’s hands can empower them to succeed. If you are picking up web development or know someone who is, consider introducing them to this Rails course and volunteering to help mentor them. The reward is far greater than the effort.
If you're teaching technology or programming and are using Heroku, we want to get to know you better. Please reach out and contact us, we're interested in your story. Help us invest in programming literacy, and make the future a better place.