Code Wiz is the kind of place that makes young TV-loving Sheldon Cooper happier than going to the train shop.
But kids don’t have to be young geniuses to learn computer coding and robotics at the Learning Center at 530 Florida 13, Unit 15 in Fruit Cove.
Owners Eliud and Rebeca Rodriguez worked at Johnson & Johnson when they moved to Jacksonville from Puerto Rico in 2015.
He’s an engineering manager. Before the couple decided to purchase the Code Wiz franchise, she worked in the finance department and then in customer service.
They opened in July.
Code Wiz started in Westford, Massachusetts in 2017. It teaches children ages 7 to 17 how to write computer code and how to apply it to robotics and computers.
Rebeca Rodriguez joked that a round of rock-paper-scissors may have determined which spouse could leave Johnson & Johnson to run Code Wiz.
“I don’t remember if I won or lost, but I’m the one wearing a proper hoodie,” she said.
Neither of them are experts in robotics or coding. They knew they wanted their own business, so Franchising his consultant suggested Code Wiz as an option.
New to the market, their location is not only close to home, but also demographically favorable for young families.
“We wanted to do something we could do as a family. Our 11 year old is addicted to this world. Before Christmas he asked Santa Claus for a 3D printer,” says Rebecca. Rodriguez said.
While researching the business, I learned that a franchise in Massachusetts worked with the Girl Scout Troop. She had experience as a Girl Scout and saw the potential in business teaching mathematics and computer her science to girls as well as boys.
She said her accounting background might help, as she can learn to code on the fly. She said she was close to being an Excel spreadsheet expert.
“When I worked in customer service, I learned how to create many macros in Excel to facilitate the order entry process,” she says.
They employ four “coaches”. They were both in high school and self-taught in coding and robotics. The rest are University of North Florida students who learned to code.
Rodriguez realized that learning computer coding is a cross between math and language.
“It’s a little bit of both, but it’s like learning a foreign language. Like, you have to be very specific in how you write things.”
Code Wiz franchise fee is $40,000. The Rodriguezs got a $200,000 loan from the Small Business Administration, but they haven’t spent it yet.
The couple signed a franchise agreement in January 2022. It took her until April to find a place. Besides being convenient for commuting, the strip center seemed to serve a much needed clientele.
“I think it would be very interesting to have a karate school next door and a music school next door, so it seemed like a really good place for us to add to their portfolio,” she said. Told.
Much of the learning is based on the Minecraft video game software. Children learn to code first so they can create LEGO robots that perform specific tasks.
“We are very project-based, which means Montessori-style learning. While guiding them through the curriculum, we find out what their passions are and what projects they would like to do. I’m trying,” she said.
Code Wiz is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. We will be open on Mondays in January.
Parents pay $149 monthly tuition. If a family enrolls multiple children, the first child will be billed full price, with her 10% discount for each additional child.
Summer camps and mini-camps are also held during long school holidays. For example, Winter Camp from 9am to 3pm on December 22nd and 23rd costs $96 per day per child.
A typical session lasts about an hour. Code Wiz tries to be flexible so kids can combine her Code Wiz with sports, dance, music lessons, or other after-school activities.
According to Rodriguez, Code Wiz is a way to spark curiosity.
“Instead of kids watching YouTube videos of other people playing games, here you can teach them how to make their own games.”
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