Canada needs to step up its game on code literacy. Software is at the core of almost every industry today. It’s at the core of so much of what we do every day. From entrepreneurs disrupting old-fashioned industries to young professionals customizing the company blog, knowing how to code is becoming necessary.
Canada needs to further encourage students at all levels to prepare themselves for the modern workplace.
Code.org, one of the international leaders in raising awareness around the problem of code literacy, estimates that there will be a 1 million person job gap in programming by 2020 in North America alone. Incredibly, programming-related jobs already occupy the number one category for job openings in North America, according to a recent Forbes report.
But why talk about ‘Code’ as a language? Because it is taught and learned in much the same way that one learns spoken tongues. Similar to learning a new language, there’s no substitute for diving in. You need to learn how to think in each language’s unique framework. Immersion lets you practice and build up your instincts for the nuances. Programming is really just learning how to talk to machines. Getting them to do what you need – faster than you can yourself.
While Code isn’t a language in the traditional sense, we need to approach it as such in education. Canada needs to further encourage students at all levels to prepare themselves for the modern workplace. Coding, given its significance in the modern workplace, is a huge part of this.
Further, in Canada, technology companies have never been better funded. We have several truly special companies making waves – companies like Shopify, which just recently made its initial public offering and is now a multi-billion dollar company. Companies have cash and are willing to pay top dollar for skilled employees, but the talent is scarce.
This scarcity is the core reason that code bootcamps can boast incredible placement rates. Aligned with the skills that are in demand, private programs are helping to nurture the talent that companies so desperately need.
We’re putting a dent in the problem of code literacy, but Canada needs more people to buy into solving this very real problem. We need to come together and put code literacy on equal footing with many other skills taught to students. We need to open more eyes to the opportunities these skills unlock. We need to recognize Code as Canada’s third language.
That’s why we are officially petitioning the Government of Canada to designate Code as Canada’s third official language.
Craig Hunter is the CEO of Bitmaker Labs, a Toronto-based programming school offering immersive bootcamps that teach people of all ages to code. We’ve introduced thousands of people to code through our bootcamp, part-time, and workshop programs. Over 90 percent of Bitmaker Labs’ graduates find meaningful careers within 90 days of graduating. Bitmaker Labs graduates have been hired by companies from Telus and Hootsuite to Shopify and The Working Group.