Photo: Jantine Doornbos
If the projections are correct, there will be a significant shortage of technology workers in Canada in the next ten to twenty years. Canada Learning Code plans on changing this projection with their initiative of teaching 10 million Canadians how to code by 2027.1
Canada Learning Code is an organization that wants to give every Canadian the opportunity to know how to code. Their target focus groups are women, young girls, Indigenous youth, people who have a disability, and newcomers to Canada. Let’s take a closer look at what Canada Learning Code is all about and why all Canadians need to learn coding in this world of technology.2
What Canada Learning Code Is All About
Canada Learning Code was founded in 2011 as Ladies Learning Code. Since then this non-profit organization has evolved into Canada Learning Code, bringing coding skills to Canadians all across the country.
Canada Learning Code makes it easy to learn code by breaking down their programs with classes for specific groups – girls, kids, women, teachers, and teens. Each learning experience is unique, allowing for learning in local workshops throughout the country in select cities as well as through local Meetups. Cost is minimal to free, with the option to pay what you can. Canada Learning Code makes sure that learning how to code is achievable for anyone regardless of their financial circumstance.
Canada Learning Code wants to give all teachers the tools they need to teach code to their students. Free teaching materials are available, and teachers are encouraged to take a coding class themselves, so they know what these classes are all about.
Being a Volunteer
Without volunteers, Canada Learning Code wouldn’t be able to do what they do. They rely on volunteers who are experienced coders, or who just have a passion about teaching coding skills, to volunteer and mentor at classes, Meetups, and youth summer camps. Volunteers are needed not only to help teach code but to coordinate workshops and provide classroom space with WiFi accessibility.
Canada Learning Code has a vision that is strong and empowering. They encourage the support of partners and sponsors to provide them with donations, volunteers, and corporate sponsorship to reach Canadians and inspire in them the importance of learning to code.
Filling Jobs in Technology
As Canadians compete in the world market, they need the right skills to compete for well-paying jobs in technology. Without these skills, Canadian workers will be left out of the global market not only in technology but in other careers where logic and algorithms work together with math to solve problems.
We need to teach children in kindergarten all the way into high school how to code and be digitally prepared for whatever career path they choose to take. Currently in Canada only 4 of the 13 provinces and territories have coding as a mandate on their school curriculum. That’s a lot of children and youth who won’t be exposed to the fundamental coding skills they need to succeed in school and in the global job market for technology.3
Canada Learning Code brings opportunities to children, youth, and women of all ages to learn a skill set that is going to help them get ahead and prepare for the jobs of the future.
Coding is For Everyone
Learning how to code is even more important for girls who are currently left behind when it comes to technology. Even girls who show an aptitude for maths, science, and technology in their teen years in school are less likely to choose a STEM or IT program in university.
A study released by the WCT (Women in Communications and Technology) indicates that in 2011 women represented just a little over 27 percent of the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) workforce in Canada. Since 2011 that percentage has remained between 25 to 29 percent.4
I think it’s important to note that girls don’t have a lack of interest in science, technology, engineering, and math subjects (STEM), they lack opportunities and encouragement to become involved and choose careers in these fields. Canada Learning Code gives girls that opportunity – to learn the skills of coding in a safe and mentoring environment.
Even Non-Technical Jobs Benefit From Knowing Code
Coding and computer skills are important even if you’re working in a job that is non-technical. Coding and technology are skill sets that teach us how to think and learn outside of the box. Coding teaches us how to take a problem and analyze it, figure out what steps we need to take to solve it, and then create code that is going to put those steps into action. This skill can be translated to any job whether its in technology, science, business, and even humanities.
The importance of learning, and learning effectively, is a huge topic these days. Leading tech companies are recognizing that we need to teach children at a very young age to think critically and creatively. Dell Technologies has jumped on board and understands why effective learning is essential to the future. In their report, “Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future”, Dell Technologies predicts that 85 percent of the jobs in 2030 don’t even yet exist and that “schools will need to teach how to learn rather than what to learn to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet”.5
As a women in the IT field I fully recognize the importance of knowing how to code. Even my limited coding skills have provided me with the skills to think through a problem and then solve it one step at a time until the problem has been solved.
Canada Learning Code gives Canadians the skills they need to succeed and the ability to learn and think critically. Technology is all around us and it’s here to stay. It’s more important than ever that the next generation has a head start as early as possible so that by the time they reach post-secondary education they have the skill set of coding to step into any tech career choice. The same can be said for women learning to code. They’ll have the skills and tools they need to compete for jobs in an industry that is so heavily male biased.
1Sariffodeen, M. (2016, October 13). We need to teach 10 million Canadians to code or we’ll get left behind. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on March 04, 2019 from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/we-need-to-teach-10-million-canadians-to-code-or-well-get-left-behind/article32334031/
2Canada Learning Code. (n.d.). Canada Learning Code. Retrieved on March 04, 2019 from https://www.canadalearningcode.ca/
3Canada Learning Code. (2018, December 03). 84,000 Students Across Canada to Take Part in Canada Learning Code Week December 3-10. Cision – Newswire. Retrieved on March 04, 2019 from https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/84000-students-across-canada-to-take-part-in-canada-learning-code-week-december-3-10–codeweekca-701774302.html
4WCT. (2017, June 06). WCT Study Shows Women are 27% of the Canadian ICT Workforce. WCT. Retrieved on March 04, 2019 from https://www.wct-fct.com/en/news/wct-study-shows-women-are-27-canadian-ict-workforce
5Dell Technologies. (2017-2018). Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work in 2030. Dell Technologies. Retrieved on March 04, 2019 from https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-ca/perspectives/realizing-2030.htm#