Microsoft Computer Science Education Week 2018: Cracking the code

Teacher helps young student at Hour of Code
A Microsoft Fargo volunteer helps a student at an Hour of Code event at Northern Cass Elementary School in Hunter, North Dakota. Photo credit: Dennis Krull.

Last week, people around the world celebrated Computer Science Education Week. Millions of kids participated in an Hour of Code, a global call to action to spend an hour learning the basics of coding.

At Microsoft we know that computer science is more than just “coding.” It is a way to think, and a tool for creation. It enables people to do, build and invent. Importantly, it also puts youth on the path for success as they enter the workforce. In the U.S. alone, over 500,000 computing jobs, across all industries, remain unfilled because employers cannot find qualified candidates. Digital skills, especially computer science and coding, are a foundation of our future jobs market and economy.

We are inspired by the educators and volunteers across the globe who have brought computer science into their schools, including volunteers from the Microsoft Philanthropies program, Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS). But we all need to do more so that all K-12 students are getting computer science education – in particular, we need to increase the number of teachers who are trained to bring computer science to their students.

To address this gap, Microsoft President Brad Smith announced last week that we have committed an additional $10 million to help ensure that by 2020, teachers in every school have access to professional development, and that every state will have passed policies to expand access to computer science. is one of the world’s leading nonprofits helping to expand access to computer science education. Its annual Hour of Code campaign has engaged 10 percent of students around the world, thanks in part to collaboration with Microsoft on three different Minecraft adventures for the Hour of Code; and’s professional development resources have helped 87,000 new teachers learn computer science across grades K-12.

Jake Baskin, Brad Smith, Melinda Gates and Hadi Partovi
From left, Jake Baskin, of the Computer Science Teachers Association, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Hadi Partovi of Photo credit:

Since 2013, when’s Advocacy Coalition began its work with key partners such as Microsoft – its founding supporter and largest corporate sponsor – the number of states that have made computer science count toward high school graduation has gone from nine to 40. Our renewed commitment to will help build on this great work over the next three years and into the future.

But our news didn’t stop there: Last week we saw thousands of students, educators, and professionals participating in computer science celebrations together with Microsoft across the globe:

  • Worldwide,14,000 classrooms and nearly 700,000 students from 111 countries registered for Skype in the Classroom’s Meet Code Creators Series. Guest speakers gave students a look at what code makes possible, from computer science in movie graphics and animation, to technologies in dance, fashion and design, to Microsoft’s AI for Earth program. 
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with TEALS high school students and teachers from Brooklyn and the Bronx to learn about their coding projects.
  • In the U.S., we ran Hour of Code events in every Microsoft Store and in each of our six TechSpark regions, calling attention to computer science with the new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial, Voyage Aquatic.
  • In North Dakota, Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative helped bring together the first simultaneous statewide Hour of Code. More than 5,000 students from across 100 schools participated.
  • In Europe, Microsoft participated in more than 30 events across 20 countries, reaching more than 10,000 participants, hosting Hour of Code events for students, teacher trainings and celebrations.

Working with educators and partners, we can help ensure that any young person who wants to learn critical computational skills is able to, and has the tools to create, invent and succeed in the economy of today – and tomorrow.

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