Teaching people how to code could be a catalyst for the economy, said Zach Sims, co-founder and CEO of Codecademy, 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.
In the next year, Codecademy 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
Correction: Codecademy is the name of the start-up teaching people to code and Zach Sims is its co-founder and CEO. These facts were misstated in an earlier version.