AddisCoder students are current high schoolers who come from all across Ethiopia for 4 weeks to take the course in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. In 2011 in the first edition of the course, students registered themselves for the course via e-mail. Since 2016, the program has grown much larger into a collaborative effort between AddisCoder Inc. and the Meles Zenawi Foundation, attracting top students from all regions of Ethiopia with help from the Ministry of Education.

The students taking the course are very strong performers in mathematics and basic sciences, often ranking amongst the top handful of students in all of Ethiopia on national exams (note: Ethiopia has a population of over 100 million!), though in the vast majority of cases have little to no experience with programming.

AddisCoder exposes these bright students to the field of computer science by teaching the basics of Python programming, as well as fundamental ideas in algorithm design and analysis. AddisCoder covers advanced topics usually not taught until at least the second year of university studies: order of growth, recurrences, induction, memoization, greedy algorithms, graph algorithms, sorting, and numerical algorithms. The course is very hands-on: class meets for 8-8.5 hours per day, including a lunch break in the middle, with only roughly 90-120 minutes devoted to lecture. The rest of a class day is devoted to hands-on lab exercises in which students solve problems by writing code.

A number of students have gone on to be highly successful after completing the AddisCoder program (see the alumni section below)