Last year, our executive chairman Eric Schmidt urged the UK to take advantage of its “great computer heritage” by increasing the number of students studying computer science. We’ve now teamed up with the Guardian newspaper to encourage a new generation of coders.

As part of our joint initiative, the Guardian hosted a two-day hackathon event for pupils from four UK schools. In each school, 20 pupils - all aged between 13 and 15 - were given the challenge of creating a website in just over 24 hours. Developers from Google and the Guardian were on hand to offer advice.


Seven projects emerged from the hackathons. They ranged from an online community for sharing and editing photos to a collaborative calendar that allows users to upload and share blogs, links and photos. By the end of the event, most students had a working knowledge of programming languages including Java, Python and html.

Much more work is required, but there are encouraging signs. In January the Education Secretary Michael Gove took the bold step of scrapping the existing ICT curriculum, freeing schools in the UK to teach a richer mix of programming, computer science and advanced IT rather than simply how to use software.

Most of the students who participated in our hackathon had little experience in computer coding. The promising results suggest that everyone, with a little support, can learn to code and embrace the digital future.