Code is a set of instructions that computers understand. When people write code, they write instructions for computer software, apps and websites and for programmes in everyday objects like phones, watches, microwaves and cars. More and more jobs require coding and other digital skills. Despite high unemployment levels in Europe there are many vacancies for ICT practitioners. In fact there may be a shortage of around 725,000 ICT professionals in 2020 if nothing is done to address the issue.
This year EU Code Week has partnered with the Public Libraries 2020 – a network of 65,000 public libraries, who will organise workshops in local libraries across Europe. Other supporters include Google, which sponsors 45 Code Week events in 28 countries, MIT Media Lab which has prepared special EU Code Week tutorial and video, Lego Education, which offers Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 software as a free download and many more companies who offer coding classes.
Schools are especially encouraged to enrol in the CodeWeek4All challenge – which challenges schools to set up coding classes for their pupils and students. Those who reach at least 50% participation will receive a certificate of excellence from the European Commission.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "I invite all schools to take part in the CodeWeek4All challenge. It is important for young people to understand that they can build fun and useful things with code. In the near future 90% of jobs - in careers such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, art, architecture, and many more - will require some level of digital skills. Increasingly, that includes programming and basic coding skills."
Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: "Digital skills, including coding, are important for businesses. The Gigabit society needs IT-skilled people to make the infrastructure of the future work. I would encourage everyone to try out some coding during EU Code Week – you may find it fun and it could help you find a good job."
EU Code Week is run by the EU Code Week ambassadors, volunteers who coordinate events in their countries – but organising events is open to everyone: code clubs, schools and teachers, libraries, businesses, parents, youth organisations and universities. The Code Week website hosts toolkits, tutorials, lesson plans which you can use to set up your own event.
EU Code Week was initially set up by the Young Advisors to the Digital Agenda. The movement encourages young and old people to acquire programming skills and become makers in the digital world – not mere consumers of digital content. The volunteers also actively work to join people, organisations and networks who teach coding together to increase the offer of coding classes and ensure that "every week throughout the year is code week".
EU Code Week takes place 15-23 October. At the same time Africa Code Week it taking place in 30 countries in Africa. The European Commission supports EU Code Week as digital skills is a cornerstone of a well-functioning Digital Single Market.
The initiative has attracted the support of coding and education movements like CoderDojo and RailsGirls. Microsoft, SAP, Liberty Global and Facebook together with European Schoolnet also support the initiative through the EU Coding Initiative.