Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Challenges Students to Learn Coding

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that students should take more tech classes, and even saying he would hire them to work at his social media company, at a surprise visit to Redwood City’s Sequoia High School.

Zuckerberg told students that understanding technology “is going to be really critical to having a lot of options and doing what you want,” and went on to say the jobs of the future will be very different from jobs today, and students should be using that to their advantage.

“The simplest answer is that that’s where all the jobs are going to be in the future,” said Zuckerberg during his talk. “So if you look at the economy, it’s easy to get the sense that the world somehow is going to be same as it is now when you grow up, that the jobs that you will have will be the same types of things that your parents have, and that’s really not true if you look at the history. The world evolves, and jobs evolve.”

Zuckerberg also announced his company will be donating 50 laptops to the school and starting an application development class to teach students how to create their own smartphone apps.

The appearance came as part of a larger campaign by Facebook to introduce girls to the world of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math, and encourage more young people to work toward careers in the fields.

“What we’re really trying to do is to create the same types of opportunities for the next Mark Zuckerberg,” said Tim Campos, Facebook’s chief information officer.

Sequoia High School junior Rosie Valencia interviewed Zuckerberg for his appearance after having completed an internship for Facebook this past summer.  During the event she talked about the importance of introducing coding to girls, mentioning that when she started none of her friends had heard of it.

Silicon Valley has recently come under fire for hiring mainly young, male, white and Asian workers.

CEO of the Bay Area Council Jim Wunderman said tech companies like Facebook are trying to widen the amount of people they can hire from.

“The more they can find qualified, talented people, the more successful they’ll be in developing new products, new ideas and new approaches,” Wunderman said.

After the appearance, students were allowed to ask questions.  One student asked “what happened to MySpace?”  Facebook CIO Tim Campos replied that people came to Facebook because that’s where their friends were.  Another asked for Campos’ salary.  Campos simply smiled and replied “technology is a good industry to be in.”

Overall, the appearance was meant to show students that all it takes to make something big is one idea.

“It’s pretty daunting if you look at some big product that you want to build or change that you want to make in the world,” Zuckerberg said. “You can get scared and decide that it’s really hard to get started doing that. But everything big starts small.”