“Code is now a part of almost every field, like agriculture, marketing, and healthcare, to name a few,” says the Canada Learning Code chapter leader.
In an increasingly data-driven world, a little coding ability could prove beneficial not only for those looking to build a career in artificial intelligence (AI) or any other technology field.
“Code is now a part of almost every field, like agriculture, marketing and healthcare, to name a few,” said Crysta Whalley, chapter lead at Canada Learning Code (CLC ), a non-profit organization aimed at providing digital services. the literacy of Canadians.
Whalley notes that even when working in fields and roles not directly related to coding, professionals can do better by having a basic understanding of how code works.
“We run a popular Canada Learning Code workshop ‘Managing Data with SQL,’ which is about learning how to use and manipulate data from databases,” she said. “It is a powerful language that allows us to extract useful information from large amounts of information.”
Whalley noted that every industry, whether in technology or not, works with data.
“Understanding how databases are structured and how data can be extracted from a database is important to being able to design reports, extract information and make data-driven decisions. »
With databases found in many workplaces, Whalley says this makes SQL relevant to a variety of roles in different industries, such as government, marketing, sales, customer service and finance.
She recalls an instance during a workshop on Scratch, a programming language for children, where a parent suddenly realized there was a connection between the programming activity and their professional experience.
“They held up their screen to share what they do every day in the oil and gas industry and, in the same way that we use Scratch, they said that the program they use for their work is also based on blocks,” Whalley said.
Canada Learning Code workshops, in person or online, typically last two to three hours, and there is always a hands-on component.
“Typically, the instructor introduces the topic, then presents an initial piece of code, and then learners can add that piece of code to their projects over a short period of work,” she added. “The instructor builds on that, and the learners can rebuild, and it repeats.”
Whalley explained that what makes CLC workshops so beginner-friendly is the ratio of one mentor to four learners, which is helpful to students during work periods.
“If the code doesn’t work, there’s someone there to help learners work and learn how to debug their code,” she said.
Although everyone is learning the same basic project, Whalley said there is so much space for creativity and ownership of the projects. She gave an example of this during a “Paint Night with Code” workshop.
“In this workshop, you use code to create interactive art, and one learner really wanted to modify her project to make it a PacMan. She worked hard and was able to achieve her vision,” she said.
Whalley emphasized that Canada Learning Code provides accessible computer science education to all Canadians so that everyone can create with technology.
“The workshops are all intentionally hands-on, meaning learners are actively coding or creating something tangible at each event. »
CLC Mentors and Instructors are volunteer positions, typically filled by professionals who work in industry or university computer science students.
“Our mentors are passionate about technology and committed to supporting all learners to ensure they gain the digital skills they need to succeed in today’s world,” Whalley said.
Other volunteer roles within the CLC include those of section leaders and coordinators who organize event-based opportunities in their local communities.
The non-profit group currently has 23 chapters in Ontario and across Canada. CLC is particularly focused on empowering people who have been historically and currently underrepresented in the technology sector, including women, girls, and racialized and Indigenous communities.
To learn more about Canada Learning Code and its upcoming events, visit www.canadalearningcode.ca.