Nas has been making 2014 his year...
unarguably greatest rap album of all time, Illmatic, turning twenty Nasir Jones has been everywhere these days. Partnering with Hennessy you've heard him tell the story of Malcolm Campbell, putting on a show at Coachella that brought out both Jay Z and Lauryn Hill, the documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival Time is Illmatic, a myriad of interviews, and hints at a new album... Normally a reserved person who lets his words speak for him, Nas has been a fixture in media the last few months.
But, Nas' most recent act is not music-related at all. Lately, he's been conversing with venture capitalists, and is supposedly getting his hands into the tech world. According to Black Enterprise, his first endeavor has been a project that gives scholarships to minorities that want to pursue web development and coding as a career. He is partnering with Microsoft, Google, and Hirepurpose by donating money to a group that isn't very well represented in a fledgling industry.
Not only will there be scholarships; the participants at the General Assembly in New York will leave the program being competent web developers anywhere. They will also be required to give back to the developers of the future in the form of mentoring and teaching for non-profit organizations that teach minority youth.
The fact that I am writing this and most people are reading it at their work desk proves that web development isn't just the future; it's right now. In the last decade, we have seen many young people become billionaires based on learning what is becoming the most important language: web coding. The internet has made the world accessible and even able to reach out to people we thought we would never see again. Had I known eleven years ago when I was entering college what I knew now, I would have looked into web development as a career path.
I think scholarships like this are steps in the right direction. There are many apps and classes for children to begin learning web coding at a young age. They've made learning the language just as simple and fun as learning Spanish, French, or Mandarin (hint: THIS is the language you should make your children learn for the future) by making it into fun puzzles and games. It caters to the same fascination and imagination of building Legos, all the while playing to the dream every kid has had over the last thirty years of making their own video game.
The second-most important lesson I learned in macroeconomics class is that technology doesn't take away jobs; it creates them. Sure, people may be let go for computers who can do the jobs of multiple people, and the paper companies or what have you. But someone needs to fix and control the devices that make these technological developments work. Once one learns programming, that opens up the doors for consulting and building one's own business.
"Rappers I monkey-flip them with the rhythms I be kicking" may be how the Street's Disciple introduced himself and had an impact on our life, but this could be the beginning of something much greater than the poetry he's created.