At a public Town Hall Q&A session held at the company’s headquarters late last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quite positive about the influence of computer video games on children, noting that video games were what first got him interested in programming.
Zuckerberg took questions on a variety of topics during the more than an hour long Town Hall Q&A session.
Facebook’s Zuckerberg on how video gamers become programmers
“I made a lot of games for myself, and they were terrible,” Zuckerberg noted of his experience with video gaming as a child. “But this was how I got into programming.”
He continued to say: “I hear a lot that parents are concerned about their kids playing games, and there are valid concerns and I think that there’s an important debate to be had around that. But I do think that if you’re a parent and you don’t let your children use technology, but also want them… to be open to [a career in programming], then I actually think giving people the opportunity to play around with different stuff is one of the best things you can do… I definitely would not have gotten into programming if I hadn’t played games as a kid.”
Video gaming also results in more diverse tech employees
Zuckerberg came back to the topic of video games a few minutes later when he fielded a question regarding the diversity problem in the tech industry, making the argument that interest in gaming could lead to future engineers from currently underrepresented demographics.
“We as a society need to get to a point where everyone has the same opportunity and the same ability to be playing with technology and experimenting with different things, because that’s how you eventually get into engineering,” he commented. “You learn and you mess around with things and design some things. Most of the engineers I know, who are the best engineers, are self-taught, it’s not because they took some classes.”