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“Coding is becoming such an essential skill, and we want to make it possible for everyone to learn even when life gets busy,” the app’s website says. “We made Grasshopper to help folks like you get into coding in a fun and easy way.”
Laura Holmes, a senior product manager at Google, founded Grasshopper as part of Google’s Area 120, an internal incubator that works on special projects. She explained how the app works to TechCrunch.
Welcome to the world, Grasshopper! I couldn't be prouder of the team and what we've built. Download at https://t.co/N2Y1OcgpVs if you want to start learning to code in 5 min a day #learntocode #reskilling #edtech #grasshopper https://t.co/QN7V2sepMb pic.twitter.com/HOqVl5mGHj— Laura Holmes (@fearofpoets) April 18, 2018
So far, the app has 4.7 stars and quite a few positive reviews from both experienced and non-experienced coders.
This is really cool! Students can learn to code from an app that gives them challenges! Check out https://t.co/tStuEsuf2W from @Google's Area 120! Its available on both Android (Chromebooks with Android) and iOS! #michED #edtech #INeLearn #BRESA— daniel mares (@danieltmares) April 19, 2018
Some reviews have been more critical of the app, saying the only way to truly master coding is to simply code. Holmes and her team, however, have made it clear that Grasshopper is only intended to teach fundamentals and inspire new people to continue learning.
“We see Grasshopper as a launchpad to help introduce people to code. For one-third of our users, Grasshopper is the first time they’ve ever encountered coding,” Holmes said. “Many people think that coding isn’t for them or don’t have the access and time needed to consider it as a viable career path, and we want to help change that perception.”
There are already more than 5,000 graduates from Grasshopper’s program, according to TechCrunch. Out of all the players, 47 percent were students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in tech, and 68 percent of users said they’re more motivated to learn to code after using Grasshopper.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.