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What the tech? Computer coding toys

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If you're a parent of a young child you've certainly wondered what kind of job they might have when they grow up. You may have even wondered what jobs will still be around when they grow up. As more companies fill or create positions with computer automation and robots, the job market outlook beyond 5-10 years is unclear.

We know this: jobs in computer programming will be open. That's according to Bryan Miller of Wonder Workshop.

"These are jobs we need to fill. By the year 2020 we're going to have 1.4 million jobs available in computer science alone. We're only graduating students with the ability at around 400,000, so we have a 1 million student deficit that's graduating, so we're going to have jobs that go un-filled," he said.

Miller's company makes toys that teach computer coding or programming. The toys are geared toward the youngest students, even pre-K. One of Wonder Workshop's most popular toy is Dash, a blue mobile robot that only responds to commands that are in computer code.

"The magic behind it is teaching it to do the program. Telling it to move 4 rotations forward or 4 feet forward, or stop, turn left. Light up green, launch a launcher," explains Miller. "You're programming it and telling it to do that stuff."

Dash is operated with a smartphone or tablet but not as a remote control. Certain commands must be constructed in a certain order for it to move or make music. Miller told me, by using and mastering the language that makes Dash react, young children learn how to code computers. A skill he says, that could help them land a job by the time their 18.

"Students are leaving their high school class with skills that are preparing them for the future in the real world," Miller said. "Companies like Google, Pixar and Facebook are hiring students right out of high school based on their skill sets, and skipping the entire 4 year institution."

Unlike other robot toys that are controlled by a remote, Dash and other programmable toys (Osmo) are more difficult to use right out of the box, but kids typically play with them longer.

"It's not just a one-hit wonder where they play with it once and put it away because they advance past it," says Miller. "This will continue to grow with them based on their skill set."

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