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Software Engineers at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Give Free Coding Lessons to Students Affected by COVID-19

Software engineers from leading technology companies, including Google, SpaceX, and Amazon, are volunteering to help students learn to code COVID-19 while schools are closed

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, over 1,000 engineers have signed up to teach, and students across 45 U.S. states and 30 countries have received coding lessons. Started by The Coding School, a 501(c)(3) tech education nonprofit, the organization is providing free online, one-on-one coding lessons to students who have been significantly affected by COVID-19. Students grades 4–12 with a parent who is an essential worker or has lost a job due to COVID-19 is eligible to receive personalized coding lessons from a live instructor.

Since 2017, The Coding School has taught online, face-to-face coding lessons for K-12 students in partnership with USC and UCLA’s Schools of Engineering. The organization is also offering other free programming to inspire students during this time, including a web development coding course and Q&As with engineers specializing in aerospace, healthcare and tech, product design, and quantum computing.

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“We’re on a mission to ensure coding education is accessible and empowering for all students,” explains Kiera Peltz, founder of The Coding School. “Over the past three years, we’ve seen the power personalized coding education has in transforming students’ lives, and that’s why we want to make sure — especially now — students experiencing difficult times, have access to specialized coding instruction and mentorship.”

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Instructors are professional software engineers from over 60 companies and university students — from undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates — at more than 100 universities, including StanfordMIT, and Duke. Students are matched with instructors with similar backgrounds, thus serving as not only instructors but also mentors.

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Over 95% of students who participate in the program are more likely to pursue a career using programming skills, and 98% of students found The Coding School’s program to be the most effective form of coding education. Students learning at their own pace, focusing on tech fields of interest, and having relatable mentors as instructors has been the winning formula for students’ engagement and success.

“Feeling lost in his school’s coding class, my son was ready to give up,” said Vladimir Manuel, a healthcare worker in Los Angeles. The Coding School matched Manuel’s son with a software engineer from Google for one-on-one lessons. “The one-on-one lessons really helped my son understand the material. Now he leaves every lesson with a smile on his face and is excited to continue learning to code.”

While students benefit greatly from personalized instruction, instructors have found giving back has its own rewards. Jiahan Yan, an instructor and also software engineer at Google, wrote, “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

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