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Ideas in the Wild: How Jeremy Keeshin Aims To Help Demystify Coding

Six hundred years ago, most people couldn’t read. In 1440, the invention of the printing press laid the groundwork for massive increases in literacy and ushered in the modern era.

Today, computers and the internet are causing a similar tectonic shift. Reading and writing are foundational skills, and in our digital world, coding is too.

But coding can be intimidating to learn. What is code? Where do you even start?

In Read Write Code, Jeremy Keeshin demystifies the world of computers, starting at the beginning to explain the basic building blocks of today’s tech: programming, the internet, data, apps, the cloud, cybersecurity, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and more.

As CEO and Co-founder of CodeHS, Keeshin has helped teach coding to millions of students over the last decade. Complex concepts are explained in friendly and engaging ways, with interactive examples and practical tips. I recently caught up with Jeremy to learn more about his journey with the book and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

One summer a few years ago the idea crystalized for this book. I think for beginners of all ages there isn’t really a great way to get a survey of what coding and computer science is all about and why it matters. I try to distill a number of disparate topics in a friendly way, and show how they all link together. If you already know what you want to learn there are ways to do that, but if you don’t know where to start, or find the whole topic too intimidating, this provides a guide.

Also I felt if you were a teacher but hadn’t formally trained in computer science, then it would be really helpful to understand more of the context and what else is out there.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned going through the journey you share in the book?

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the power of taking a growth mindset towards learning and computer science in particular. I think if you can believe that anything is learnable, and you can do it, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you just need a process and path to get there. Many people can get stuck before they get started. If you are able to get started and keep making small improvements over time, you can really learn so much.

Also, there are surprising ways that you can use computer science in your own life, and I think it gives a lens to understand how technology impacts our society.

How will you apply this lesson in your life moving forward?

Just in the last week I’ve seen people building crowdsourcing websites to organize vaccine availability, and I created a site to help link among vaccine directory sites. For me it’s an example where you can see a problem, visualize a solution and create it. I think that pulling back the curtain on coding lets so many more people have those same powerful tools.

And I think with a growth mindset: so much with technology can seem opaque and intimidating, and there is always more to learn. But I think reminding yourself you can do this, start at your level, keep improving — that mindset will go a long way.

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Zach Obront

Zach Obront

1.2K Followers

Co-Founder of Scribe, Bestselling Author of The Scribe Method