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Advanced Digital Literacy – Opportunities for All Skill Levels

February 01, 2012 by Angela Simpson, NTIA Chief of Staff (Acting) and Senior Advisor for Broadband

When discussing digital literacy, most conversations center around people's initial contact with computers and learning how the Internet is relevant to their lives; the basics on how to obtain information, goods, and services online; and developing the threshold skills necessary to succeed in the digital economy.  These basic skills are building blocks for success, and are the focus of many of our Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) projects.

Digital literacy is an ongoing process, however, and “advanced” digital literacy can have tremendous economic impacts – both from the perspective of the person learning marketable computer skills necessary to compete in today’s digital economy, and from the macroeconomic perspective in helping to realize the President’s vision of a more competitive America built to last.

Codecademy, whose work on is profiled here, is taking advanced digital literacy to the next level by offering free interactive programming lessons for those interested in learning the basics of computer programming online.  Codecademy’s Code Year initiative offers free weekly coding lessons only for a time investment of approximately five hours per week.  Students will learn extremely marketable skills such as how to build apps and websites.  These skills foster entrepreneurship and enhance employability.   Codecademy is also participating in the Administration’s Summer Jobs+ program, where it will offer a course called Code Summer+, which is an abbreviated version of Code Year tailored to teaching low-income youth how to build innovative apps online and helping to connect students with tech companies.

For resources geared to all skill levels, check out


All Americans have the potential to use technology to create new businesses and develop competitive skills. The Internet allows everyone with access to develop competitive skills with very lower barriers to entry. This, of course, is the opposite of what rising college tuition would suggest.