Publicis Groupe’s SapientNitro is expanding an initiative to support and develop young coders and Web designers in Detroit.
RhinoCoders is a series of free computer programming classes for 7- to-17-year-olds living in metro Detroit. The program first ran last fall and now class is back in session.
Beginning March 7, SapientNitro is once again offering these free coding classes with the purpose of immersing local youth in the world of technology, laying the building blocks for a lifetime of digital education.
The program's goal is provide early exposure to programming languages that will encourage young people to pursue passions they might not know they had — perhaps even at SapientNitro.
"Given the quick advancement of technology over the past two decades, we have found that the value of the RhinoCoders program is obvious to a lot of adults, but children are still embracing the role that coding plays in our digital experiences," says Alyssa Altman, vice president at SapientNitro and one of the agency’s executives leading the RhinoCoders program. "Our first session saw a lot of students in their 20s who have jumped at the chance to be involved in the program because they understand the value that mastering these coding languages can bring to practically any resume."
The program has evolved. “Kids have short attention spans,” said Altman, “so we slimmed down the material that we teach and turned them into tasks, minimizing the amount of time we talk and maximizing the amount of time that the student is actually coding."
Now there is also a better opportunity for participants to showcase their efforts — the agency is developing an app interface by which students can save their work to a live Web page.
There are no plans to extend this program to the agency's other regional offices, like Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
"The concept for these classes was designed solely by the SapientNitro Detroit office based on the understanding that the team has for the city of Detroit, and the needs of the local youth, especially," says Altman. "The SapientNitro Detroit team built RhinoCoders to offer youth a free program that will lend skills, experience and connections that can help shape the future of the local youth and the city as a whole."