SALT LAKE CITY — Children who learn computer coding techniques are better prepared for advancing careers, according to one Utah senator.

"It gives them a sense of achievement and ability to want to become programmers," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. He is proposing legislation that would make computer coding classes accessible to all students, as early as elementary school in Utah.

Utah does not yet teach computer coding in elementary schools, but 14 other states do, said Amber Oliver, vice president of Globaloria, a company that sells curricula used to teach coding. She made a compelling presentation to lawmakers in the Education Interim Committee on Wednesday.

"Utah's tech industry is strong, robust and growing," Oliver said, adding that more than 70 percent of the state's tech employees are hired from other states because "local talent isn't available."

She said computer coding, by way of video game design, facilitates learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, which are where the job sector is showing some of the largest expansion.

Stephenson plans to introduce legislation containing a Utah plan for coding education for the upcoming session in January.

— Wendy Leonard