An Open Letter from the Nation’s Tech and Business Leaders

Why Computer Science for All is good for all


Yesterday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio took to the stage to announce the nation’s most ambitious and far-reaching technology education effort to date: New York City will deliver computer science education to every student in each of the City’s public elementary, middle, and high schools by 2025 through its new Computer Science for All initiative.

The impact of this investment cannot be overstated.

One in five New York City businesses employs tech talent, fueling the growth of a tech sector that today represents nearly 300,000 jobs and $30 billion in annual wages. Between 2007 and 2014, tech employment in the City grew 57 percent, nearly six times faster than overall citywide employment. And by the year 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor projects there to be more than 1.4 million computer specialist job openings nationwide.

We need talent, we need it now, and we simply cannot find enough.

Imagine the potential. There are 1.1 million students in New York City’s public schools today. With this commitment, every student will learn the fundamentals of computer science, from web development to robotics to computational thinking. That’s 1.1 million New York City students equipped with what Mayor de Blasio called the “fundamentals of our future.” This, compared to the 39,000 students who took the AP computer science exam in all of the United States in 2014.

These are the skills and competencies that will power the growth of every industry that thrives here in New York City, from technology to finance, advertising, manufacturing, retail and design. These are the skills and competencies that will unlock a world of opportunity for our students, our communities, and our businesses.

This is opportunity at an unprecedented scale.

And with scale comes greater equity. This commitment will dramatically diversify our recruiting pipeline, an issue that has plagued this sector in recent years. The evidence speaks for itself: Of the 738 New York City students who took the AP Computer Science exam in 2014, only 29 percent were female. What’s more, just 139 were Black or Hispanic. We have been leaving a lot of potential on the table. As one of the most diverse cities in the world, New York can do better.

Broad-based, early exposure is critical to long-term success and persistence in tech. Computer Science for All will have an impact far beyond any investment one company can make.

As New York City employers, we are deeply committed to supporting efforts to build the pipeline and expand opportunities for all New Yorkers, from the Mayor’s Tech Talent Pipeline industry partnership to the new Computer Science for All commitment. The diversity of our workforce will undoubtedly benefit, as will the diversity of our products and services.

‎With this announcement, the Mayor has bolstered New York City’s position as the place to start to a company, the place to build a team, and the place to deliver for businesses and people alike.

Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. We all look forward to the next generation of talent born of this work — from Brooklyn to the Bronx.


Fred Wilson, Founder and Chairman, New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education

Allen Blue, Co-founder, LinkedIn

Ron Conway, Founder, SV Angel

Dennis Crowley, CEO and founder, Foursquare

Chad Dickerson, CEO, President and Chairman, Etsy

Don Duet, global co-head of Technology Division, Goldman Sachs

Ben Fried, CIO, Google

Eliot Horowitz, Co-founder and CTO, MongoDB

Chris Hughes, Publisher, The New Republic; Co-founder, Facebook

Jocelyn Leavitt, CEO and co-founder, Hopscotch

Brian O'Kelley, CEO and co-founder, AppNexus

William Pence, CTO, AOL, Inc.

Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor

Serkan Piantino, Site Director, Facebook New York

Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder, Via

David S. Rose, founder and CEO, Gust

Bill Rudin, Chairman, Association for a Better New York

Kevin Ryan, Chairman, Gilt Groupe; Founder, MongoDB, Business Insider, Zola

Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft

Oskar Stål, CTO, Spotify

Yancey Strickler, CEO, Kickstarter

David Tisch, Managing Partner, BoxGroup

Ev Williams, CEO and founder, Medium

Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City