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Opening doors into the world of technology

October 15, 2018 By Saki Serizawa

It has been quite a year, and it seemed rather fitting to join Melissa and others from our Canada Learning Community this past summer to hear her lead a panel on the future of work. The panel discussion coincided with the announcement of a generous gift from Amazon of $525,000 to Canada Learning Code.

You may be wondering, why is this so fitting? And the answer is simple. Canada Learning Code opened the door for me into the wonderful world of technology; starting from the introductory digital skills course last year, to volunteering at the Girls Learning Code camps, and now being a full-time student in the computer systems technology program at BCIT.

 

A few years ago, I had just graduated from UBC in social sciences and was happily working away doing community development at my new job. As fulfilling as it was, I wondered if this is what I wanted to continue doing.

 

Before graduating I did a 6 month exchange in Seattle where, thanks to the power of a popular swiping app, I befriended several software engineers who worked in the hot Seattle tech scene. It was amazing how these folks came from all over, and worked in a diverse range of companies.  

 

However, as fascinating and inspiring as their lives were, I could not understand a lot of what their work entailed: it was jargony and unfamiliar. I was surrounded and affected by technology on a daily basis, but I did not have much understanding of how it worked. Fast forward to being back in Vancouver contemplating my life, I decided to change my lack of understanding by enrolling into some classes with Ladies Learning Code.

 

I began the seven week digital skills course as a testing ground to see if coding was something I wanted to pursue. I was even lucky enough to receive a partial scholarship, which made participating more feasible as a recent grad.

 

One part-time course can’t cover everything, but what I took away was more than just the basics of digital literacy. It was the confidence that this was a possible career path for me and a part of my future. The comradery and collaborative atmosphere between the instructors, mentors, and other learners was incredibly encouraging. Not to mention that a lot of what we were learning felt like magic! In hindsight, meeting those interesting people in Seattle was my spark, and Ladies Learning Code helped to stoke a fire in me.

 

Thanks to the organization prioritizing accessibility for their courses, I explored my new-found curiosity of digital technology and learned that coding can be for anybody who wanted to do it, including myself!

 

After the course was over, I was ready. I wanted to dive in deeper and thus began my application to the Computer Systems Technology Program at BCIT, which I am proudly a part of today.

 

After attending my first term of school, volunteering at Girls Learning Code made perfect sense. Not only are kids hilarious to work with but the opportunity to introduce them to the world of coding is exciting! Fostering confidence and curiosity for them to go forth and learn more was rewarding and I am blown away at how fast some of these young people pick up the programs and concepts that we went through. What I love most about volunteering at Girls Learning Code was creating an encouraging atmosphere and expressing that anybody can code! I wholeheartedly wish this was something that I could have participated in when I was in elementary school!

 

The Ladies Learning Code course was an important stepping stone of discovery. It is great to see more and more students being introduced to coding and computing concepts through passionate school teachers and programs like Girls Learning Code camps. I am encouraged, inspired, and am looking forward to seeing more of it in the future.

 

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