Contributing to high youth unemployment is a disconnect between the skills that employers seek and skills that youth have. With a demand for science, technology, engineering and math skills, more students should embrace these fields. And yet many don't. Why not?
At Hopscotch, we think that all but the most intrepid students get turned off from software engineering because they must spend too much time learning abstract theory before they can experience the delight of creating their own concrete programs.
We're building products to let kids get to completed programs faster, and learn programming concepts in the process. Working with the design team Rumors, our latest product is a visual programming language for the iPad. Rather than typing code and being frustrated by bugs caused by syntax and typing errors, kids get a much more visual introduction to programming. They have a library of commands that they can drag and drop to build programs. It's much like Scratch and Alice (developed by MIT and Carnegie Mellon respectively); and kids will get to experience the logic and concepts of programming much more quickly.
We hope that exposing kids to the joy of the craft of software engineering will route coming generations towards studies in the technology fields, and equip them with skills that will better match what future employers seek.