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Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: Learning to Code

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To Code or not to code, that is the question...

Now that the hype is over, the learn-to-code industry is going to get brutal and cut-throat.

This chart is so telling:

Codecademy traffic chart 2012


 And yet, they have a war chest $12.5m large. A dozen employees, and that ship will last a long time....

An impatient Board will not give them a lot of time, if there's no momentum.

 But yet codecademy has captured the national media's not a far stretch to capture the populous' consciousness as well. They Udacity and Coursera are deploying the Khan Academy strategy to for-profit world: get as many users and hours as quickly as possible. 

Will it succeed? Will they all succeed? 

I believe in the Codecademy team like I believed in the Dropbox team years ago. I believe they will succeed. 

I have yet to see a graduate of Codecademy, Udacity, or Coursera.

So as far as I'm concerned they still all round to zero.

A TED talk by Scott Young on how he did a 4-year MIT CS in one year with online courseware.

Look at all this competition:

But excitement about learning to program — or at least, about learning-to-program startups — didn’t dissipate this year, and a huge industry has spawned to teach it. There are lots of companies — new and old and funded this year — that are tackling computer science and coding education (offline and online, but mostly the latter), including:

Udacity (founded 2011; raised $15+ million in 2012); Coursera (founded 2012; raised $22 million in 2012); Treehouse (founded 2010; raised $4.75 million in 2012); LearnStreet (founded 2012; raised $1 million in 2012); Starter League (formerly known as Code Academy; founded 2010; 37 Signals bought a stake in the company in 2012); Code Hero (founded 2012; raised $170,000 via Kickstarter in 2012); Programr (founded 2012); (founded 2012); CodeHS (founded 2012); Dev Bootcamp (founded 2011); Code Avengers (founded 2011); Code School (founded 2011); Puzzle School (founded 2011); CodeLesson (founded 2010); Stencyl (founded 2008); O’Reilly School of Technology (founded in 2007); W3Schools (founded 1999); and (founded 1995).

In addition, many other companies and organizations launched learn-to-code projects: Code Monster from Crunchzilla, the “Mechanical MOOC” from P2PU, and Blockly from Google for example. MIT App Inventor (formerly a Google project) had its official launch this year. Khan Academy finally unveiled its computer science curriculum. And Mozilla got into the Web literacy and Webmaking thing in a big way — with tools like Popcorn Maker, X-Ray Goggles, and Thimble.

Things are about to get Darwinian.

 Now that you say it, 'tis brutal, but lucrative. Hence the brutal nature of it.

Folks will fight viciously for one slice; but perhaps even more viciously to see who can both increase the size of the pie and take a bigger slice.

Of the companies Audrey mentions, how many are profitable or even have a revenue model?






Starter League.


So do you think they can all survive and thrive?

 Yes, because the demand is increasing faster than the supply. Much faster:

dy/dx of the demand for "learning to code" > dy/dx of "teaching to code."

What will happen, I think is this. Old and new school.'Reilly Publishing:CodeCademy/LearnStreet

All silicon valley talks about AirBNB and yet HomeAway is incredibly successful, no? Slightly different focus just as TeamTreeHouse and Codecademy have different focuses, but I think a similar analogy.

The size of the pie is increasing at an increasing rate. 

Who heard of Coursera 18 months ago? And now, article after article after article is hailing the arrival of MOOCs. 

Here's what I think: 

Tech companies are creating an intense amount of demand for software and web developers, as well as designers. If you believe that "software is eating the world," this is now being applied to other industries -- or has been and we're finally cognizant of this. Medicine and healthcare, oil and natural gas, energy and business, etc. 

So the companies can thrive as long as the demand continues to increase, and as long as the second derivative is positive, all bets are off.

Finally, the rise of the BRIC nations will mean that the majority of the consumption of the online resources will be going to four countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Coursera and Udacity both are beginning to share some of their numbers that confirm this. 

The bootcamps and programming schools are just new technical/vocational school offshoots. Learn to be a plumber or auto technician or radiologist in one to two years? Boom, we can make you a computer programmer in 12 weeks. 

College educations can be distilled to 16 weeks.....

Net-net is that I still have yet to see job candidates who have been through these curricula. Seems like everyone who tries these new ways is a little bit of a guinea pig.

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