In a world where technological evolution continues to blur the line between human and machine interaction, the language that enables humans to interact with said machines is paramount. That language? Code.
This past June, West Windsor-area high schoolers Ritvik Rangaraju, Krish Thawani and Aditya Prasad created Codivate, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which aims to introduce young students to the world of programming and is helping them learn how to code.
“The role of computer science and programming in our lives today is more important than it ever was, and that’s only been accentuated by COVID-19,” Thawani says. “We’ve seen new technologies come into play that we’ve never seen before, such as Zoom – and everything’s running on code. We felt that it was really important for us to get involved [in some way] because computer science is only going to become more popular in the future.”
Codivate offers a variety of interactive virtual courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels that cover all aspects of coding, from basic block-based language to exploring Java. All courses are free, which is intentional in Codivate’s effort to make coding as easily accessible for everyone as possible. Courses are all recorded so participants can go back and rewatch, and videos are also posted to Codivate’s YouTube channel.
“Looking at code is like looking at a sea of illegible curly braces and semicolons. Any normal person would have no idea what they are looking at, which is a really big turn off to a majority of the population,” Rangaraju says. “We created Codivate because we understand how overwhelming coding feels at first glance, and we wanted to break it down for younger students so that they are able to take advantage of something that we all love.”
“We’re always targeting younger students, giving them harder content [than they would learn at their respective grade level in school], but the way that we maneuver that is by teaching them in a more friendly and mentoring manner compared to a lecture,” Prasad says.
Codivate uses volunteer tutors, and has multiple chapters across the country in New Jersey, Georgia, New York, Missouri and North Carolina, as well as an international chapter in Cameroon. Rangaraju says that, moving forward, the goal is to continue to expand Codivate’s presence both domestically and abroad. Its core team is made up of 12 people, with an additional 3 to 4 people for each chapter.
“We just want to attract as many students as possible and continue developing new courses so we can cover all of the interest areas that any student might want,” Rangaraju says.
The biggest underlying motivation for us is to prepare the next generation for this big [technological change] that the world is seeing. We don’t want them to get left behind, but instead make them aware of the tools that they have at their disposal so that they can do what they choose with them.”
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