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What is Hour of Code? A Chance to Kickstart Your Coding Literacy

Hour of Code events can be a fun way for you to build your coding literacy, regardless of your skill level.
Two students at an Hour of Code event practicing their coding literacy

There's technology everywhere you look — from the phone in your hand to the car you ride in. Imagine being able to understand and perhaps even create the technology around you. This is where coding literacy comes in.

"In today's increasingly technology-driven world, coding literacy is becoming a crucial skill, essential for various fields ranging from software development and data analysis to robotics and artificial intelligence," said Dr. Sharon Kibbe, senior associate dean of computer science and STEM at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Kibbe, a former adjunct, team lead and associate dean, has been involved with several STEM-related professional associations, including EDUCAUSE, Super Computing Conference committees and projects, and Virtual Worlds in Best Practices in Education. She's also presented her work at national and statewide conferences.

Alyssa Laskowski, a career engagement partner for Career Services at SNHUIf you're curious about increasing your coding literacy, events such as Hour of Code present a potential starting point. 

"The Hour of Code began as a one-hour coding challenge to give students a fun-first introduction to computer science and coding and has since become a global celebration event of learning and awareness," said Alyssa Laskowski, a career engagement partner for Career Services at SNHU. Laskowski has assisted in coordinating the Hour of Code event at SNHU for the last three years.

What is Coding Literacy?

Coding is the way you talk to computers and tell them what to do, according to Forbes. And, Forbes reported, it's not just about writing lines of code; it's about understanding the languages and how they work. Coding literacy is like being fluent in another language. It means you know how to read, write and think about code, so you can communicate with computers effectively. 

SNHU Senior Associate Dean Dr. Sharon Kibbe.Coding can give you the power to bring your ideas to life, from making your own video games to solving problems worldwide.

"Coding literacy can empower individuals to create solutions to problems and think them out logically," Kibbe said.

Knowing how to code can help you understand how the apps on your phone are built or how to make a website from scratch. But more than that, it can teach you how to solve problems.

What are Coding Skills?

Learning to code means understanding how to effectively communicate with computers. Coding skills are the tools you use to do so. 

"Coding literacy helps to understand, read and write code proficiently," Kibbe said.

This means not just knowing the basics but being able to put them to the test. According to Skills You Need, these are some skills that successful coders have:

  • Attention to detail: There are many different coding languages, each with its own set of rules and challenges. It's important to pay attention to the key details of the language you're working with to help you minimize mistakes and identify them quickly.

  • Experimentation: Coding can involve creativity and experimentation. This means challenging yourself to try and learn how to do things you've never done before. 

  • Patience and perseverance: Encountering bugs is a big part of coding and can be extremely frustrating. You'll need to practice patience and persistence when hunting and correcting those pesky errors.

  • Planning: Starting a coding project without a proper approach can create more problems in the long run, so it's important to get in the habit of mapping out things in advance. 

  • Problem-solving: Coding isn’t just about typing; it’s about thinking. You’ll want to know how to break down big problems into smaller ones that are easier to solve.

  • Self-reliance: Learning to code can involve a lot of improvising when trying to identify potential solutions. You'll need to trust your instincts and decision making. 

  • Understanding computers: Having a general knowledge about computers and how they work may make it easier to understand certain coding concepts.

Strengthening these skills is a step towards becoming more fluent in coding. And the best part is you don't need to be an expert to start learning. Attending an Hour of Code event can be a great way to dip your toes into the world of coding without feeling overwhelmed. 

Find Your Program

What is the Hour of Code? 

A clock on an blue backgroundHour of Code is a global movement that introduces people of all ages and skill levels to the basics of coding in a fun, easy and accessible way (Hour of Code PDF). 

The main goal of Hour of Code is to show that computer science and coding are not exclusive to a certain group, Laskowski said. "It's about making learning fun and engaging for everyone, regardless of their skill level. Hour of Code truly embodies the spirit of inclusivity," she said.  

But who hosts these events, and where can you join one?

According to Laskowski, universities like SNHU and nationwide K-12 institutions play a crucial role in hosting Hour of Code events. "These events, which occur annually during Computer Science Education Week every early December, are a testament to our commitment to promoting computer science education," she said.

Is Hour of Code Free?

Hour of Code events are accessible to anyone due to the wide range of events that take place across the globe. At SNHU, both students and alumni are invited to participate.

Daisy Gillam, a 2020 graduate and employer relations partner at SNHU

"Hour of Code is absolutely free for SNHU students or alumni to attend," said Daisy Gillam '20, an employer relations partner at SNHU. "It's a unique way to interact with other SNHU students, expert faculty and staff, and employers in the industry."

In fact, all career services are free to SNHU students and alumni, according to Gillam. SNHU career advisors can help you explore career assessments, career path resources and offer individual career coaching. 

"We also host several career events throughout the year. You can learn more at www.snhu.edu/student-experience/career," she said. The Career Advising team can also be reached via cocecareer@snhu.edu.

An SNHU alumnus, Gillam has worked in higher education for 14 years and is passionate about educating and connecting students to their career goals. 

Hour of Code at SNHU

The recent annual SNHU Hour of Code event took place from December 4-8, 2023. There were over 1,000 students registered in total, and each of the eight sessions available had an average attendance of 50 students.

At the beginning of the event there was also a kick-off employer panel that featured employers like:

  • AT&T
  • BGC Partners/Cantor Fitzgerald
  • Genesys
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • PTC

In addition to the Hour of Code events, schools like SNHU may offer other experiential learning opportunities to students interested in technology, such as Amazon Web Series (AWS) Jams. AWS jams provide students a learning opportunity to help advance their skills within their degree program while connecting with the SNHU community. 

An icon of a computer with a lock on the screen.You can also test your cyber skills through competitions such as the one that SNHU recently placed 65th in, which is hosted by the National Cyber League (NCL). In this competition, students tested their skills on real-world cybersecurity tasks. 

If you want to learn more about SNHU's STEM programs, events and resources, you can visit the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

With so many resources available, events like the Hour of Code can be a great introduction to the world of coding and a networking opportunity.

According to Gillam, students that attend Hour of Code are exposed to the world of coding, which contributes to the development of well-rounded learners. 

"Code runs the world, and exposure to coding is great for everybody. And you never know, the right student may attend an Hour of Code event and find a new passion in coding," she said.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU technology program that can best help you meet your goals. 

Nicholas Patterson ’22 is a writer and alumnus of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing. He is currently honing his craft further as he pursues an MFA in Creative Writing from SNHU. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.