History was made in the U.S. on Tuesday when Barack Obama became the first president to crank out a line of code.
But don’t be mistaken, this wasn’t the American leader flirting with the idea of a post-presidential career in programming, nor was it a man tinkering with the White House’s IT system for a bit of lunchtime fun. This was the U.S. president doing his bit to inspire kids to get involved in computer science.
Obama’s stab at programming came on Monday as he launched Code.org‘s annual Computer Science Education Week, a global event aimed at expanding involvement in coding and related fields by increasing accessibility in schools.
At a special gathering at the White House, 20 students from a middle school in Newark, NJ joined the president for an Hour of Code workshop, similar to the ones being held around the world by a host of tech firms and other groups on December 11.
Mission accomplished, Obama spent some time mingling with the students to see how they were getting on with their own coding exercises.
Speaking in a video posted on YouTube over the weekend, Obama encouraged kids to get involved in Computer Science Education Week.
The president said that “while no one is born a computer scientist, becoming a computer scientist isn’t as scary as it sounds. With hard work, and a little math and science, anyone can do it.”
He went on, “Don’t just consume things, create things. Take an hour to learn more about the technology that touches every part of our lives. That’s how you can prepare yourself with the skills you need for your future. And that’s how you can help prepare our country for the future as well.”
Obama urged both boys and girls to go along to one of the many coding events happening across the country this week, reminding them that the nation is “counting on America’s young people to keep us on the cutting edge.”