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Teens Dream of Google And Learn to Code For Free

By Jasmin Koerber
Mission Local

San Francisci

It’s the first coding course 17-year-old-high school student Robyn has taken, but he already knows where he belongs.

“My dream employer? Well, I’d have to say Google.”

Robyn, two peers and a professional programmer, are building a Pac Man-like zombie game called “Reclaim.” Today’s task: fixing a bug so that their protagonist no longer falls off the virtual map.

Robyn is one of the 10 students who have forsaken the sun to sit around a gloomy class room at Mission High School, more or less glued to their laptops. He is one of 68 San Francisco high school students taking free coding classes offered by Mission Bit. The nonprofit teamed up with Out of Sight in the fall, and has been a part of its after-school program.

The courses take place at Mission High and the Lick Wilmerding High School, a private school, but any student in the San Francisco Unified School District is free to join. This semester, only 20 percent of the students attend Mission High. The others come from Balboa High School, Lowell High School and various other schools in South San Francisco. Students that complete the course earn 2.5 elective credits and the necessary laptops are provided by Mission Bit.

A good 40 percent of the students are girls. More than 50 percent of this semester’s high school participants are Asian, almost a quarter are Latino and 5.4 percent are white. There is a waiting list to get in.

On the table next to Robyn’s, Gisela and her project partners are…

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