With computer coding in demand, young Pinellas County students learn basics

Pinellas students start learning how to code from a young age

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- As a kindergartner, you probably remember learning your numbers and letters. With technology growing at a rapid pace, however, 5-year-olds need to learn more than just the basics.

This year, Pinellas County is introducing computer coding to young children.

The district purchased 100 “bee bots” to help students learn the basics of computer coding.

The bees have buttons with arrows and the students have to figure out how to get the bot to an assigned square.

Kali Kopa is a Kindergarten teacher at Leila Davis Elementary school in Clearwater. She already teaches fourth and fifth grades computer coding, seeing first hand how the after-school program teaches them to create apps and build websites.

“So, I see the skills that they need," Kopa said. "It's exciting to bring it to this level. Many times, people think they're just too young but with the robot, they can do it just like anything else."

By learning basic set of commands and programming which direction they want the bee to go, Kopa says it prepares students for more complex coding tasks.

“Starting them young and just exposing them to it and getting them interested in it,” she said. “Hopefully, when it comes time to pick a career and go to college for it they have some sort of background knowledge.”

Jobs in computer coding are not only in demand, they pay big time.

“We could see six figures for a starting salary for some of the more embedded engineering software side,” said Ray Carr with Occam Technology.

Carr says they look for interns participating in competitive robotics teams, many of whom get hired after they graduate.

“We offer them a very competitive salary to keep them because we have trained them for so many years,” he said.

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