Among the many ways that COVID-19 has impacted Canadians is in accelerating our need for technology.
According to Melissa Sariffodeen, this era, marked by working from home, has helped expand a digital economy that was already bursting out the seams.
“Now every industry, for the most part, is tech or is tech-enabled or is a digital industry,” said Sariffodeen, CEO of Canada Learning Code and Ladies Learning Code. “Whether you’re in healthcare or professional services, whatever it might be, tech has a component in that.”
Sariffodeen’s career serves as a perfect example of someone who has gravitated back to this need for tech. After graduating from Western University’s Ivey Business School, she started working in accounting, but she filled her spare time with coding.
What became clear to Sarifodeen and a few of her friends was that many Canadians lacked the computer science skills which were quickly becoming more essential, as demand rose for content to be made available online.
This inspired them to launch Ladies Learning Code, and on August 6, 2011, they held their first workshop, which to their pleasant surprise was met with eager enthusiasm.
“Oh, I always joke that it’s harder to get a ticket to a Ladies Learning Code workshop than to a Beyonce concert,” Sariffodeen chuckled. “Tech was so exciting…there was this appreciation and realization of these skills.”
Now almost 10 years later, Sariffodeen and her friends have launched a broader Canada Learning Code and have used it to service more than 600 000 Canadians with coding workshops.
The curriculum they’ve developed has been helpful not only to individuals and groups but also to schools.
Today, Sariffodeen and her team serve as an expert for provincial educators. They recently took part in reviewing Ontario’s math curriculum.
As the computer science industry is expected to double once again this year, the demand for those to work in IT is growing, but so too is the demand to be competent enough to solve everyday problems that are tech-related.
For more information on some of the many free coding programs, head to www.canadalearningcode.ca.
Photo: “Whether you’re in healthcare or professional services, whatever it might be, tech has a component in that,” said Melissa Sariffodeen.” Photo by Cynthia Munster.