Raleigh company offers free program to teach kids coding

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh company is training the next generation of coders — and those trainees are as young as 8 years old.

Earlier this year, Atlanta-based Tech Talent South expanded to Raleigh, opening a code education academy at HQ Raleigh. While the company offers full- and part-time programs, Tech Talent South also offers a free youth program for student between 8 and 13 years old.

Kids come to HQ Raleigh once a week over and eight-week period to learn everything from JavaScript and HTML basics to coding simple programs with the Ruby programming language.

Tech Talent South co-founder Betsy Idilbi explained that when she started the company 1-1/2 years ago, she knew giving back to kids was going to be a part of Tech Talent’s foundation.

“We just went into the classroom and we just taught straight Ruby to the kids,” Idilbi said. “Long story short, it was a great success and we realized, ‘Why wouldn’t we teach?’ This is a skill set they enjoy, and they can utilize it right away.”

Instructor and community organizer Magdalyn Duffie explained that teaching kids to code is “a no brainer.”

“It’s demystifying something that is very pervasive in all of their lives,” she said. “It shows the kids how powerful it is.”

Coding is also becoming a bigger part of the classroom as the White House pushes for more computer science in schools

Computer-related jobs are projected to expand for years to come, but only a small percentage of college graduates obtain a degree in the field.

“While no one is born a computer scientist, becoming a computer scientist isn’t as scary as it sounds,” President Barack Obama said in a video message. “With hard work and a little math and science, anyone can do it.”

Chris Mwrabu, a software engineer himself, said he enrolled his 10-year-old son Mark in Tech Talent South’s Youth Code Camp after working with him a bit himself. He said the program offered the logical next step for Mark.

“We started this earlier this year, and we just rolled this over into what we were doing,” Mwrabu said. “So I figured it would be a good opportunity for him.”

For Mark, learning how to create websites by writing his own code has been a lot of fun.

“Everything,” Mark said of what he likes about the Youth Code Camp, “really, doing the JavaScript.”

He said, “Maybe I can be a software engineer, like my dad.”

The Next Youth Code Camp will be offered in January, for more information, visit the Tech Talent South website.Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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