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Codeacademy CEO: Teach People to Code, Boost the Economy

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 | 11:42 AM ET
Learn to Write Code Like Mike Bloomberg
Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 | 8:21 AM ET
Zach Sims, Codacademy CEO, explains how his online education academy can teach clients to write computer code.

Teaching people how to code could be a catalyst for the economy, said Zac Sims, co-founder and CEO of Codeacademy, the online-start-up aimed at teaching people how to program for free.

"We're building the basic steps of competency to help people start their own companies, get entry level jobs right now," Sims said on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. "I think what they see is what we are building is part of the future of education. Kind of a new, online, native experience for education where people can learn skills to help them find jobs."

(Read More: Why You Might Want to Start Speaking in Code)

There's a looming shortage of computer programmers and the current public education system isn't teaching the skill set that will be in high demand in the future, Sims said. By 2020, it's expected that there will be one million more computer science jobs than there are graduates, according to the non-profit organization Code.org.

"I think there's going to be a huge drought in computer programmers by 2020, and even now, we hope to fill the gap by providing education," Sims said.

Codeacademy turns learning how to code into a game for the user. Members of Codeacademy have access to resources that can teach them web fundamentals, as well as multiple programming languages, including JavaScript, Ruby, and Python.

In the next year, Codeacademy is planning to help match programmers with jobs via a jobs board, Sims said.

"I think we are on the way to changing it now. We've created a user experience that's like a game. Making programming cool is kind of key to future," Sims said. "The focus now is on building the best product, but in the future it's using the network we have. We have several million people that are learning and teaching people to program now, to add value to their learning and teaching experience."

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.