Jefferson City high school students begin first week of computer science classes

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JEFFERSON CITY - New computer science classes that started this week in Jefferson City are designed to get students ready for the growing number of careers in computer and mobile technology. 

Project Lead The Way is a high school program that offers hands on learning opportunities to students K-12 in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. Two sections of the new computer science course are taught by Kevin Krumrey.

"Students usually don't start computer science until they are freshman in college," Krumrey said. "In fact, my little brother is a computer science major at the University of Arkansas. He didn't start coding or anything until her was a freshman. So when these students are starting in high school, they will have a big leg up on those other people entering the job field."

According to a Gallup poll, about nine out of ten parents believe using computers and teaching computer science will help students in future jobs.

However, according to the study, less than half of students grades seven to 12 say their school sponsors a computer science group or club. In addition, about 25 percent report having no access to computer science clubs or programs at school.

Krumrey said, "The job field is growing exponentially each year, and there are so many opportunities for people with the skills to program and code to get quality jobs."

A shift in the labor market has included more positions involving technology and computer applications. Studies show IT jobs will grow 22 percent by 2020 and software development positions will grow almost 40 percent.

A Columbia Area Career Center list average salaries says the typical computer hardware engineer earns more than $93,000 per year.

Krumrey said, during the year, students will create an application for Android, create a web-based game animated movie, learn HTML coding and learn how to handle databases.

Tuesday was the first day for some students in this course, and many said they have always been interesting with computers and technology.

"I really want to work with computers, and my mom and my whole family are computer programmers, " Mikey Saucedo said.  "I definitely want to carry on with that."

Jack Shinkle said, "'I'm excited to learn more about computers and do stuff with computers, and I think that will help a lot later on."

Brady Sloan said, "Being around computers more is going to help me get a better understanding of them."

When asked about where they see themselves after taking more computer science courses,  Saucedo, Sloan and Shinkle quickly said, "Google."

Krumrey said, "The purpose of schools is to prepare students for the workforce. Even if they don't go into, specifically, computer science, to have a little experience is really going to help them do anything."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science is important in nearly 200 different industries.