Gates, Zuckerberg participate in video to promote coding education

In just a few days, Code.org's short film encouraging kids to learn computer programming has surpassed five million YouTube views, and garnered mass interest and participation.

According to the non-profit organisation, its viral video, which enlisted famous faces including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, will.i.am, Jack Dorsey, and Chris Bosh, has inspired more than 260,000 petition signatures and a number of donations on the site.

"For a 'geeky' topic like motivating people to code, it's clear that the team behind Code.org and director Lesley Chilcott have found [a way] to break through the perceptions and get people talking about the national need for more computer programming education," a spokesman for the non-profit organisation said in an email.

Code.org founders and identical twin brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi dropped by Reddit today for an Ask Me Anything session - just one stop on their almost-tour to promote computer science education.

Right off the bat, user superheavyelement posed a super heavy question, asking the brothers what the most significant obstacles are to getting nationwide public education in the US to incorporate coding into a standardised curriculum.

In order from most important to least, Hadi listed: ignorance ("People all know US is behind in math/science, but nobody realizes that 60% of math+science jobs are in computing"); lack of a high-school-ready online curriculum (though CodeAcademy and CodeHS are close, he said); training educators to teach or facilitate (the hardest problem, according to Partovi); encouraging females to participate ("This isn't an obstacle ... but I think it's a HUGE deal"); and getting all 50 states to count computer science as a graduation credit (only nine do so far).

The brothers also offered advice to students, telling computer science student frenchthehaggis that as someone who has taken the leap to learn programming skills, "You're already in the top 1% of the world," Hadi said.

He continued, telling the student to network and build a base of coders to recruit for their next gig, whether at an established business or a startup, and to build projects - an app or website - that will stand out on a resumé.

Much of the discussion focused on parents' concerns about a lack of coding education at the high school and college levels. The first step, Hadi said: Check out the third-party courses offered at code.org/learn.

Continue spreading the non-profit's video, and point local institutions to the site's "teach" page, he added; code.org is already reaching out to schools that submit to its site.

The AMA lasted about an hour and a half, garnering a massive list of questions and answers, including some wisdom from Ali.

"For young people: [coding] teaches you how to think, it unlocks creativity, and builds confidence," he wrote. "It's an amazing feeling for a young boy or girl to realize, 'If I don't like something, I can change it. If I wish I had something, I can create it.' This sense of empowerment is valuable no matter what path you choose in life."