Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

As parents arrived at Viscount Montgomery’s open house this month, they were greeted by a club of keen young people excited to show off their video games.

But the students didn’t just play the games – they created and coded the games themselves.

Grade 7 student Rhyanna said she liked gaming but “didn’t have a clue” how to code before signing up for the weekly meetings of her east-end school’s code club. Four weeks later, it was a different story.

Viscount Montgomery teacher Sarah Weston (in blue) with Code Club students and parents at the school’s recent open house.

Viscount Montgomery teacher Sarah Weston (in blue) with Code Club students and parents at the school’s recent open house.

She had coded her first game, Crossy Road, which looks like Frogger. She moved on to Geometry Dash with its cube that jumps to avoid a mouse. Her third game, Don’t Touch the Snake, needs little explanation.

Viscount Montgomery was the first HWDSB school to host Hamilton Code Club, a new partnership with the Industry-Education Council of HamiltonABACUS and Software Hamilton to foster coding in schools. Other HWDSB elementary schools involved this year include Adelaide Hoodless, Ancaster Meadow, Dalewood, Norwood Park, Pauline Johnson, Queensdale and Queen Victoria.

The club represents the first step by students in the promising field of computer science and programming. By 2019 there will be a shortage of 182,000 information and communications technology (ICT) workers in Canada, explains program co-ordinator Beth Gibson.

One possible solution to this gap was on display at the open house, as teacher Sarah Weston’s Grade 7/8 students explained to parents how they moved through six weeks of lessons and are now able to create games of their own.

The program they use, Hopscotch, makes coding easy because students can drag and drop segments of code – written in English not a programming language – into their program to make characters move.

“There is a lot of independent reading, problem solving and decoding as students try to understand something and come up with synonyms,” Weston said. “After two weeks the students are asking each other for advice rather than using the instructional videos.”

Educators like the strong curriculum links – and getting students excited about a new school activity.

“Schools often pay attention to the sports teams and other groups that not everyone participates in,” Principal Stephen Yull said. “This allows us to dig deeper with iPads, so students can use their imagination and creativity. You get to pursue the ideas that you have and how to design things that you have thought of.”

Club mentor Kevin Browne – a professor of computer science at Mohawk College – said the strong link between computer science and math becomes clear as soon as students understand the importance of the X- and Y-axis when it comes to moving their characters.

“We begin with video tutorials and a game like Frogger, and they learn about loops and conditionals, which are key to coding at higher levels,” said Browne, who has a PhD in computer science and organizes tech and start-up events with Software Hamilton.

He’s excited about code clubs growing the local tech community, noting that cities can only flourish as tech hubs when they have a population of people literate in code.

Weston’s six-week stint within the Hamilton Code Club umbrella has wrapped up – but her students are still keen. They drop by on breaks to sign out iPads and continue their learning and experimentation.

She notes that the club of 15 students included five girls, including Rhyanna.

“I learned that a lot of work goes into coding and when you make a big game you would have to think about where the controller is and so many different things,” Rhyanna said. “I really liked it and would like to make video games one day.”

«Is There Alien Life on Earth?

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/blog/lets-talk-abou...

We are very fortunate in Ontario to have an education system that strives for excellence and equity for all students. This week, May 2-6, is Education Week in Ontario and National Mental Health Awareness Week.

We need to be proud and share the success stories in education as well as engage in important conversations regarding mental health. The success of our education system depends on the positive mental health and well-being of staff, students and our entire community.

Providing students with the support they need to think, feel and act in ways that enhance their ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges they face is critical to their achievement and long-term success.

As HWDSB staff, we all have the power to make a significant difference in creating the core conditions of positive mental health and well-being for our students and staff.

 

This Education Week, thank you for all that you do to support and promote mental health and well-being within our community in order to support our students achieving excellence.

Sincerely,

Manny Figueiredo
Director of Education

Monday, May 2, 2016 AT 7:30 PM

Post-secondary Transition Talk

Dr. Nathan Cooper from McMaster Student Wellness will discuss with families and students of all ages how to positively navigate the upcoming challenges of transitioning to post-secondary education. All are welcome.

Event Flyer

Address: Westdale secondary, 700 Main Street West. Room: Auditorium

Contact: Timothy Powell-McBride, mailto:tpowellm@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-522-1387 ext: 223

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 AT 8:30 AM

Wellness Day at Ancaster Senior Public School (ASPS)

During Mental Health Week, Ancaster Senior is holding its second annual Wellness Day Conference to give students the tools they need to face pressures at this age (anxiety, stress, depression etc.) Students will begin their first session in the gym with a presentation from Live Different on building resiliency, boosting self-esteem and self-confidence. Then, students will break into their second session – either Nutrition (led by dieticians), Mental Health (led by our Psychological Services consultants and Minds Up coaches), Groove dance (led by Michelle Hillier from Groove EDGEucation), Yoga (led by the owner of Huron Yoga), or Art (led by an ASPS art teacher and planned with our arts consultant). The sessions are one hour in length. After lunch, the students will attend two more sessions before the day comes to an end.

Read the blog post from last year for background.

Address: 295 Nakoma Road, Ancaster

Contact: Natalie Allan, nallan@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-648-4439

Tuesday May 3, 2016, 10:00 AM

Together We Create Change

As part of Education Week, HWDSB is celebrating and sharing the actions that staff and students are taking to make change within their community from a local and global perspective. Each school is invited to attend with students to share and learn from other schools. Our students have been engaged in a number of different initiatives that range from environmental literacy and activism (Ontario EcoSchools), Run 4 Change, 20/20 Challenge, anti-bullying initiatives, International Day of Pink, LGBTQ /Positive Space groups and much more. We will be fully supporting our commitment to the David Suzuki Foundation’s Bluedot campaign by having a live waste audit on site (Together is a litterless event). Students will also be sharing their messages of commitment through other words or images by creating buttons to affix to our Bluedot (a giant 6’ x 6’ denim circle to be hung on the wall). The day will also see student storefronts, speakers corner, a blogging café, spoken word performances, lots of social media and keynote speaker Spencer West from Me to We.

Event Flyer and Blog

Address: Carmen’s Banquet Centre, 1520 Stone Church Rd. E. Room: Entire Venue

Contact: Aaron Puley, apuley@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-531-4894

Tuesday May 3, 2016 AT 7:00 PM

Let’s Talk Well-Being

During Mental Health Week, Let’s Talk Well-Being will discuss with parents and caregivers ways to build resiliency and mental health in our youth. After opening remarks by HWDSB Director Manny Figueiredo, the keynote speaker will be Dr. Bruce Ferguson PhD., C. Psych. There is also an opportunity to speak to community support agencies at storefront displays.

Event Flyer
Address: 25 High Street. Room: Auditorium

Contact: Ann Hewitt, ahewitt@hwdsb.on.ca

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 AT 5:30 PM

Parents as Partners: Shared Vision + Shared Solution = Student Success

Parents as Partners invites you to an evening with Shelley Woon, Superintendent of Leadership & Learning: Specialized Services for a session on Shared Vision + Shared Solutions = Student Success.

Event Flyer

Address: 20 Education Court. Room: 180A

Contact: Ann Hewitt, ahewitt@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-527-5092

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 At 6:00 PM

Education Week at Balaclava

Balaclava will be holding an Open House for Education Week from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with a book fair running all week.

Address: Balaclava School, 280-10th Concession Rd. E., Freelton

Contact: Greg Best, gbest@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-659-3396

Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Dr. John Seaton School – Fun Fair for Education Week

Fun Fair will include animals from a local farm, fire truck, BBQ, silent auction, book fair and booths in the gym on educational themes, school activities and resources.

Address: Dr. John Seaton school, 1279 Seaton Rd., Sheffield

Contact: Principal Eddie Grattan, egrattan@hwdsb.on.ca, 519-647-3471

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 4:30 PM

Helen Detwiler 25th Anniversary

Helen Detwiler is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! There will be reflections and artifacts from the past, student voice from the present and honouring a 25-year journey of Helen Detwiler.

Address: 320 Brigade Drive. Room: Gymnasium

Contact: Principal Nancy Radojevic, nradojev@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-574-2662

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 5:00 PM

Holbrook Open House & Family Meal for Education Week

Visit classrooms and share in a multicultural meal, celebrating the unique backgrounds of Holbrook’s students

Address: 450 Sanatorium Road. Room: Gym.

Contact: Cathie Lemmond, clemmond@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-385-5369

Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Viscount Montgomery Education Week Open House – with Code Club Demonstrations

Viscount Montgomery was the first Hamilton Code Club at HWDSB that was part of a new partnership with the Industry Education Council, to foster coding at HWDSB schools. Sarah Weston’s Grade 7/8 class will be set up in the main lobby to demonstrate the games that student created using the code they have learned – and visiting students and families get to try them too!

Address: 1525 Lucerne Avenue

Contact: Teacher Sarah Weston, sjweston@hwdsb.on.ca

Thursday, May 5, 2016 AT 5:30 PM

Education Week Wellness Fair at R.L. Hyslop

Let’s Get Together … and Be Well! Open House in the R.L. Hyslop gymnasium for parents to enjoy an evening where they can approach, discuss and find support for various health and wellness concerns with representatives from school and community wellness services. Also, visitors can see R.L. Hyslop’s new Buddy Bench.

Address: R.L. Hyslop elementary, 20 Lake Ave., Stoney Creek

Contact: Principal Brian Playfair, bplayfair@hwdsb.on.ca, 905-662-8425

Saturday, May 7, 2016 AT 10:00 AM to Sunday, May 8, 2016 AT 4PM

PHOTO: DOORS OPEN HAMILTON 2016 – Three HWDSB buildings featured at two locations

As part of Doors Open Hamilton, visitors are invited to tour three interesting HWDSB buildings at two locations. These include:

  • Mohawk Trail School Museum: A restored 1882 one-room schoolhouse open for the first time since its relocation. Located behind the HWDSB Education Centre, 20 Education Court.
  • HWDSB Education Centre: The new administrative building for HWDSB opened in 2014. At 20 Education Court, off Upper Wentworth near Mohawk Road East.
  • HWDSB Educational Archives and Heritage Centre: Displays of school memorabilia, yearbooks, photos and more! At 155 Macassa Avenue near Upper Gage.

Event Flyer

Contact: Sue Phillips, scphilli@hwdsb.on.ca

Saturday, May 7, 2016 AT 7:00 PM

Southmount Secondary Reunion

A meet and greet opportunity to catch up with students and staff who were at Southmount Secondary School from 1964-1970. Find additional information on the website http://www.southmountreunion.ca.

Address: Leander Boat Club, 50 Leander Drive

Contact: Jean Bethune, bethunejean@gmail.com

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/media/events/educat...
Posted
AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesEdu Week

Spotlight on: Melanie Sodtka, McKeil School of Business Professor and Faculty Lead for SURGE

Summary

Spotlight on is a special series profiling the faculty and staff at Mohawk who are making a difference at the college and in the community.

Melanie Sodtka sees a day when the hard work and creativity of Mohawk students and alumni ring up sales on campus.

Sodtka is the Faculty Lead of SURGE, Mohawk’s entrepreneurial hub. SURGE offers year-round workshops, training, mentorship and competitions. All of the activity is aimed at fostering innovation and supporting students aspiring to launch their own businesses.

After only just over a year on the ground, two students working with SURGE will have their offerings available through the campus bookstore. One arranges leases for cellphones as well as a full stop mobile shop and the other designs and creates jewellery with ethically sourced crystals.

“It’s very exciting to be doing this,” said Sodtka, a professor and coordinator of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship program for the McKeil School of Business at Mohawk.

Sodtka’s two-year plan for SURGE focuses on creating a marketplace for student and alumni business ventures.

“We would love to see a SURGE-dedicated showcase to promote our clients’ products and services.”

SURGE launched in January 2015 after Mohawk successfully landed a grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

“There is a very healthy ecosystem in Hamilton. We don’t duplicate efforts. We work together to create a united front.”

Melanie Sodtka, McKeil School of Business Professor

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The purpose of SURGE is threefold - foster an entrepreneurial culture at Mohawk, nurture student and alumni startups and link with community resources such as Innovation Factory and the Forge at McMaster.

“There is a very healthy ecosystem in Hamilton. We don’t duplicate efforts. We work together to create a united front.”

Sodtka’s primary objective is to raise awareness of SURGE and encourage participation in its workshops and activities. That includes “guerrilla” marketing techniques, visits to classrooms and engaging with other faculty and staff members.

Expert presentations have included social entrepreneurship, angel investors, bricks and mortar, and technology. SURGE has also hosted a career startup fair attended by over 350 people.

A pitch competition at the end of March helps students refine their ideas and approaches to potential investors, partners and clients. Students have the shot at a $1,000 prize and gain valuable advice from community judges.

Also thanks to SURGE, students at Mohawk’s Skilled Trades Campus in Stoney Creek meet accountants, lawyers and insurance experts who guide them through the business side of working in the trades.

“About nine per cent of our students currently get formal access to entrepreneurship in their curriculum,” said Sodtka.

To help fill that gap,Sodtka landed research money through Mohawk’s iDeaWorks to develop a two-hour online entrepreneurship module called an Entrepreneur in Every Classroom. Sodtka says the module can fit into any program.

“It’s highly interactive and focuses on an entrepreneurial mindset. Not everyone will start their own business but it really can help in any job.”

Sodtka, a mother of two young children, also owns her own consulting business and was recently named among the Top 40 under 40 in Hamilton. She worked in marketing, international training and development, leadership development and North American recruitment at food giant General Mills before coming to Mohawk in 2011 after discovering her love for teaching.

Sodtka, who holds a bachelors in sociology from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Niagara University, was thrilled to be asked to take on responsibility for SURGE.

“My worlds are colliding in such a good way,” she said about combining her love of entrepreneurship with teaching.

SURGE, which is supported by eight faculty entrepreneurs and five student ambassadors, has been a great success since its launch.

“Getting this started has been such an outstanding experience and I am tremendously passionate about it. We’ve become a victim of our own success. To keep up with demand, I expect we will need to bring on more people. The groundwork has been laid.”

In just a little more than a year, SURGE has connected with almost 1,000 students and community members. The hub has 18 active clients (students and non-students), including about one-third who are international students. SURGE has accelerated three businesses to the launch stage.

SURGE is a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs.

There is a tremendous entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hamilton, says Sodtka. Representatives of Hamilton’s broad innovation and entrepreneurship community meet every other week to talk about clients, coordinate events and establish partnerships, says Sodtka.

That includes SURGE, Innovation Factory, the McMaster Industry Liaison Office, Spectrum and the Forge.

“There is such passion for this work in Hamilton, so we have tremendous community partners supporting us.”

Boilerplate

Mohawk College educates and serves 30,000 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship students annually from three campuses in Hamilton. For five consecutive years, Mohawk has been ranked the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for overall student satisfaction. Mohawk has also been recognized as one of Canada’s greenest employers and one of the top employers in the Hamilton-Niagara Region. More than 105,000 students have graduated from Mohawk since 1967.

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – is Blooming at HWDSB

Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2016

BY ROB FAULKNER

It has been a big month for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at HWDSB – thanks to outstanding teams and clubs of coders, award-winning science fair participants and impressive new and existing robotics programs.

STEM is considered one of the most promising fields of study and employment as Canada continues to develop its knowledge economy. It may also face labour shortages if students are not prepared.

“We are transforming learning throughout HWDSB as we foster learning through inquiry, innovation and critical thinking,” said Executive Superintendent of Leadership and Learning Peter Joshua. “We owe our students an education that prepares them for a 21st century economy where they will work in jobs that haven’t yet been invented.”

Board-wide Coding Contest

Westdale coders (L-R) Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann and Sylvia Kukucska are on their way to regionals.

Westdale coders (L-R) Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann and Sylvia Kukucska are on their way to regionals.

For the first time, an all-female coding team (Nuclear Lemons) on April 5 won the HWDSB Computer Programming Contest. Teams had three hours to solve four problems using the computer programming language of their choice. They were scored on the efficiency of their solution and on the time it took them to finish the questions.

Westdale computer science standouts Nicola Lawford, Brigitte Ziemann, Sylvia Kukucska and Miruna Dragomir (missing in photo) are on their way to theECOO regionals to be held on April 30 at York University. HWDSB sends best wishes with all five teams heading to regionals.

Code Clubs on the Rise

Coding is growing at schools across HWDSB, thanks in part to a new Hamilton Code Club program that gives middle school students a chance to try computer programming in an inclusive and fun setting. In the program, volunteer mentors visit Hamilton-area schools, for six weeks, to introduce beginner coding tools like Scratch and Hopscotch to students, and teach them how to build simple games and applications using the tools. Clubs now exist in dozens of HWDSB schools.

Hamilton Code Club is a program by the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton (IEC), and is supported by an ABACUS grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation. ABACUS aims to increase post-secondary access by focusing on children in the middle-school years. The IEC is a not-for-profit organization serving Greater Hamilton, devoted to fostering partnerships between business, industry, government, community and education to support experiential learning opportunities for all learners, through quality mentoring.

HWDSB at Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF)

Also this week, results are in for this year’s Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF) sponsored by ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Westmount secondary students have come away big winners.

Here are some highlights of the results for HWDSB schools:

  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco Pinnacle Best-in-Fair Award: Isabella O’Brien, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Aquatic Osteoporosis: Remediating the emerging problem of lack calcium decline
  • Third Place: Samna Aziz, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Coral and Legos: Surface modification of polycaprolactone and hydroxyapatite endosseous implant fixture coatings
  • Drs. Ranjan and Monalisa Sur Award for Best High School Project: Isabella O’Brien

High school projects advancing to the Intel International Science and Engineering in Phoenix, Ariz. in May include: Samna Aziz (third in BASEF) and Radhika Khanna, Westmount Secondary, Hamilton. Synthesis of Thermo-responsive pNIPAM-b-HEA Block Co-Polymer Hydro Gels for Drug Delivery Applications.

Sixteen students with top projects will advance to the Canada Wide Science Fair to be held in May in Montreal, Quebec. HWDSB in this group include:

  • Zoe Chisholm, Sir William Osler, Synthesizing silver nanoparticles onto cellulose to create an antimicrobial wound dressing
  • Camila Moran-Hidalgo, Sir William Osler, Synthesizing silver nanoparticles onto cellulose to create an antimicrobial wound dressing
  • Isabella O’Brien, Westmount, Aquatic Osteoporosis: Remediating the emerging problem of lake calcium decline
  • Margaret Williams, Ancaster High, The Role of Fabric in the Prevention of Nosocomial Illness: Environmentally-Friendly Solutions

There were also more great projects at BASEF – visit their website to find more details and descriptions.

In addition, this spring has seen a lot happen on the robotics front.

Orchard Park Robotics Win

You may remember when Rick Mercer visited Orchard Park’s robotics Team 2056 recently to tape footage for the Rick Mercer Report. Theepisode has aired on CBC TV and features Rick interacting with the amazing OP team and teacher-mentor Stan Hunter. Team 2056 received the Motorola Quality Award and regional win at the Greater Toronto East Regional competition in Oshawa. It was the team’s 23rd consecutive victory at the regional FIRST Robotics Canada competition.

VEX Robotics Kits

Robotics is taking off in more HWDSB schools thanks to CODE funding for 152 VEX IQ Robotics kits, distributed to schools across the board. Kit holders and key teachers (such as those involved in after-school robotics clubs) gathered in January – calling themselves “Team Curious” – to practice. Orchard Park students and staff helped develop ideas and ways to get the most of the kits in schools.

On March 22, Team Curious hosted more than 60 educators at OP for an amazing day of robot building, coding and curriculum sharing.

“The energy and learning from that day were incredible!” said OP Vice-Principal Beth Woof.

Next, staff will spend time with students as organizers monitor how the project is unfolding. “We are already getting reports that students are eagerly opening the boxes, exploring how the robots can be built, asking questions and imagineering all the possibilities.”

Enjoy some photos from the Team Curious VEX professional development session at Orchard Park.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders

  Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

 

Vex robotics PD day at Orchard park. Photos by Ancaster High teacher Antoinetta Saunders.

Source: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/blog/stem-blooms-at...

IEC Hamilton accepting applications to advanced manufacturing training program

Hamilton Spectator

Industry Education Council of Hamilton is currently accepting applications for the third year of Entry Level Advantage to Employment. Delivered by Mohawk College, the advanced manufacturing training program is open to Hamilton youth, ages 19 to 29. The course, which begins May 9 and runs until February 2017, costs $250. It teaches the fundamentals in machining, welding, electrical, fluid power, CAD and blueprint reading. Participants are equipped with personal safety equipment, a tool kit and a tablet that students keep upon successful completion of the course. For more information, visit www.iechamilton.ca, call 905-529-4483 ext. 226 or email elate@iechamilton.ca.

LEARN MORE

The Hamilton Spectator

Posted
AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesElate 3

The right time to ask your child what they want to be when they grow up

You can pretty much count on visiting relatives to ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up. The question can be daunting for little ones, who might say they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher, without truly grasping what the job entails. (Heaven forbid, I often joke, that my kids say they want to be a writer or entrepreneur like their mom. I could tell them a thing or two about precarious professions.)

iStock_000016262203_Large.jpg

Still, it’s never too young to get children thinking about their career opportunities in subtle, age-appropriate ways. The sweet spot to capturing a child’s imagination with respect to work seems to occur around Grades 5 and 6, according to research by Career Trek in partnership with the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. Somewhat surprisingly, the study found that students in that group demonstrated greater awareness of the importance of planning for a career than did children in higher grades.

Riz Ibrahim, executive director of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), which funded the study, said the research focused on children who went through the “Career Trek” program, a framework to explore different professional interests. If a participating student in Grade 5 or 6 expressed an interest in being a veterinarian, he or she would get information about the type of place a veterinarian works and the education that’s required.

The Career Trek program then reconnects with the students in a later grade, such as 9 or 10, to find out whether they still want to be a veterinarian. If so, the child is asked a series of questions about their likes and dislikes – such as, are they squeamish about blood? If that bit goes well, the program might arrange a visit to a veterinarian.

If the child’s interest has waned, however, the program might suggest another career path that draws on those preferences.

The important part is to emphasize likes and dislikes rather than focus on the specific job, Mr. Ibrahim said. So, rather than force your aspiring veterinarian to clean the kitty litter box daily or shoot down their rock-star goals, the idea is to try to uncover their interests in order to guide them down the right path early on.

“The research was looking at what kinds of interactions were beneficial from Grades 3 to 4, and up to [Grade] 12. It found that for kids in Grades 5 and 6, this information around things you like and dislike were really important,” Mr. Ibrahim said. He also noted that parents of kids in the Grade 5 to 6 window were also a lot more involved in these discussions than they were in later grades. That may be why the study showed the inclination toward planning for a future career peters off in Grade 7.

Unfortunately, as children grow older and enter secondary school, the conversation about careers tends to focus too narrowly on where the jobs are by encouraging children to “follow the money,” observed Joe Henry, dean of students at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario.

While this isn’t necessarily wrong, he added, it shuts down career options before the discussion can even get started. He observed that young people today will likely have a more varied career path than those currently in the work force and it’s important for children to be exposed to a variety of options to allow them to “pivot” when new opportunities arise.

To accomplish that, parents should help their children understand their strengths and encourage them to engage in activities or volunteering experiences to explore career interests rather than burden them with specific career advice.

“Parents don’t always have the best career advice or understanding of job market,” Mr. Henry said.

Ultimately, we want our children to grow up to be not only successful, but also happy with their work. Dr. Michael Cheng, a staff psychiatrist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, said that the best way to raise happy employees is to start with a happy childhood filled with solid connections to other people.

Up to the age of 6, parents should be instilling in children the idea that work is about connecting to other people and that the important thing in life is to be productive and make a contribution to society. Naturally, disagreements sometimes occur with co-workers in any job, but just like their experience with friends at school, these are issues that can be solved, he said.

“At the end of the day, parents want to send to their kids the message that what’s most important in life is connections to family and making a contribution. As long as what you are saying is consistent with those bigger messages, that’s all that’s important,” Dr. Cheng said.

Leah Eichler is founder and CEO of r/ally, a machine-learning, human capital search engine for enterprises. Twitter: @LeahEichler

Mentoring makes a difference.

ALYSSA LAI Courtesy Alyssa Lai Young women must be given the opportunities to lead, writes Alyssa Lai.

ALYSSA LAI

Courtesy Alyssa Lai

Young women must be given the opportunities to lead, writes Alyssa Lai.

A study by the Canadian Women's Foundation found that 83 per cent of mentored young women believe they were more confident because of it.

The study suggests that self-confidence can lead to positive life outcomes for girls, including better physical health, improved school grades, a stronger voice against bullying and harassment, more career choices and higher earning potential.

While the conversation on mentorship is not new, the need is even greater for young women and girls. 

Females make up more than half the population of Hamilton but they face a daunting list of gender-specific challenges. 

Studies have shown that the early years affect their lives as women. Although young women (aged 15 to 19) perform better academically than young men, they experience higher levels of stress and are out-earned by their male counterparts in the labour market.

Approximately 12 per cent of females between 12 and 19 have experienced depression, more than double the rate for males in the same age group, says a study commissioned by Hamilton Community Foundation. 

But when young women take part in mentoring with women, they build confidence, learn to identify their strengths and envision the kind of female leaders they can be. 

Common models of female mentorship involve older seasoned professionals mentoring young professionals.

Yet having a younger mentor can be just as beneficial.

In a pilot program between Hamilton HIVE and YWCA Hamilton's Young Women's Advisory Council, young women professionals partnered with young women in high school to provide advice on the transition to post-secondary education and, for recent grads, into the workforce. 

This female peer-mentoring model allowed young women to learn from someone closer to their age who had faced challenges they could relate to.

The challenges included stress at school and work, body image, mental health, isolation, thriving in STEM fields and peer pressure. The HIVE-YWCA pilot project involved five pairs of young women and showed that mentorship can take many forms and is not limited to age.

Beyond mentorship, what do Hamilton's young women need to succeed?

Social support — educational and emotional — at home, at school and in the community is critical for young women to thrive, reports Girls Action Foundation.

Young women must be encouraged and given the opportunities to lead and shape policies that better reflect their needs.

For the Conference Board of Canada, this means eliminating "unconscious bias" and doubts about young women's ability to take on leadership roles, ensuring that organizations can identify and develop the best talent regardless of gender.  

Since the first International Women's Day in 1911, Canada has come a long way — from gaining the right to vote in 1921 to achieving gender parity in cabinet last year.

We shouldn't stop just because it's 2016.


Young woman professional Alyssa Lai is the chair of Hamilton HIVE, the umbrella organization of young professional groups and leaders in the city. www.hamiltonhive.ca

Move over, millennials. A new crop of eager, young professionals are on their way up.

Dubbed Generation Z, they're today's high school students and university students — some have even made their way into your offices.

Who these up-and-comers are is up for debate, but Statistics Canada calls them the Internet Generation.

Born since 1993, they are the only generation to have grown up completely immersed in technology where Mom or Dad text them to come for dinner and friends post selfies and count the number of "likes" that roll in.

So what happens when you hire them?

What can you expect today's teens and 20-year-olds to bring to the workforce?

It turns out they might not be as unfamiliar as you might think.

"Interestingly enough they're the first generation that has been compared to the Silent Generation," who came before the baby boomers, said Dundas-based HR professional Jeanne Albert.

Gen Z has been characterized as overly coddled by parents, but they've seen a lot, she said.

They haven't lived through the Great Depression, but they were alive for events that rocked the world — like 9/11 and the 2008 recession.

Those experiences on top of the struggles they've seen their millennial counterparts face as they try to find work has left Gen Z longing for security more than those who came before.

"They're very concerned about their future," said Dan Popowich, a professor at Mohawk College.

"They know that student loans are increasing. They fear their inability to pay that off. They know the bar is constantly being raised."

Some are gravitating toward small- and medium-sized companies where they think they'll have a greater opportunity to work on more meaningful projects, which is important to them. Others are branching out on their own and embracing their entrepreneurial spirit.

Dragica Lebo, business development officer at the city's Small Business Enterprise Centre, says more high school students have come looking for help starting their own business over the past two years than before.

The Ontario Summer Company program — which provides grants and mentorship to startups across the province — has been made up of half high school students and half postsecondary students over that time. In the past, it was always university and college dominated, she said.

"I just think more high school students now are wanting to take that leap into entrepreneurship and are more independent and want to try things on their own," Lebo said.

 

The youth unemployment rate in Ontario is hovering around 15 per cent

 

Chris Frasson of Flamborough is one of the program's participants. The 19-year-old launched his small renovation business Flamborough Builders in April after finishing his first year of the building renovation program at Mohawk College.

"I've always liked the idea of working for myself over someone else. I see more potential that way," he said. "I'd rather be able to put in the extra time and effort. If it works out, you could potentially have a bigger reward."

While business has tapered off this winter because most of his projects are outdoors building decks and sheds, Frasson said he plans to keep the business going this summer and hopefully hire a couple of employees as he gets more jobs.

Dundas' Tyler Maciulis, 19, also started his own business with an eye for expansion. With the help of his dad, he purchased the Italian restaurant he worked at that was closing down — now called Red Door Cucina.

He has plans to go to Niagara College for chef school. After that, he might open a different location where people can dine in (the current location at the rear door of 21 King St. W in Dundas is takeout only).

With students' paths changing, high schools are offering new programs to try and cater to their needs.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs give students a chance to focus their learning on specific employment sectors, and Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) training allow students enrolled in a SHSM to solve a real-world challenge for an organization.

With the youth unemployment rate in Ontario hovering around 15 per cent, having experiential education and co-op programs help students gain skills like creative thinking that they might not have the opportunity to pick up through a part-time job, said Margot Burnell, SHSM and experiential learning consultant at the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

Initiative is another skill this generation does not always come equipped with, said Frances Tuer, a lecturer at McMaster's DeGroote School of Business.

But it's not really their fault. Tuer chalks it up to the structure provided for Generation Z, much of it by their "lawnmower parents."

Everything is planned for them, and they're told exactly what to do, she said.

"It's not surprising because they've not been given enough opportunities to figure things out," Tuer said.

That said, this generation is looking less for supervisors and more for mentors in the workplace, said Lorenzo Somma, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Industry Education Council of Hamilton. IEC runs an entrepreneurship program called MIGHTY (Mentors in Greater Hamilton Teaching Youth) open to 14- to 19-year-olds.

Experiential education and co-op programs help students gain skills

Gen Z is looking for someone who can teach them, but also someone who can understand where they're coming from and earn their trust.

For 18-year-old Patrick Chong, it was his entrepreneurial dad who inspired him to try and start his own business, Latch — essentially a barcode holding personal information such as name, phone number and email address to help track down the owner if an article is lost.

The two often bounce ideas off each other and discuss what problems are out there and how they can be solved.

While Chong loves being able to pursue his own idea and make it a reality, he's not ruling out working for others in the future.

"If Facebook offered me a job tomorrow, I'd hands-down take it," he said. "But I mean to start your own business, and to see it through, and then to see people using it, I think is just a feeling that working for a company you just can't feel."

Melanie Sodtka, a Mohawk College professor, entrepreneurship program co-ordinator and a business owner, said Generation Z will hold out for the right job.

Some will bring their entrepreneurial mindset to the companies they work for. Others will bring that to their own businesses.

But that doesn't necessarily mean they'll focus on their own creations fulltime.

"There is space and an appetite and room for people to do something on the side," she said. "They will most likely look at doing that for extra income, as a hobby even, but they'll still find a way to monetize a passion."

 

5 Millennial characteristics

 

1. Don't work as well in team environments

2. Like flexibility in their work schedules

3. More optimistic about future career prospects than Generation Z

4. Want to continually add to their skill-set in a meaningful way

5. Less likely to speak their minds than Gen Z

Sources: HR professional Jeanne Albert, McMaster University lecturer Frances Tuer and University of North Carolina

 

5 Gen Z characteristics

 

1. More concerned about the cost of education than millennials

2. Technically savvy

3. Team players

4. Prefer face-to-face communication over text messaging or email

5. Listen to their parents' guidance more than any other generation

Sources: HR professional Jeanne Albert and Mohawk College professor Dan Popowich

 

5 ways to attract Gen Zs

 

1. Nurture

Extend healthcare benefits and wellness programs.

2. Be flexible

Both about where they work — whether that be different locations in the office, a co-working space, at home or no preference — as well as with schedules.

3. Make a difference

They're not predisposed to sitting on the sidelines — they want to work on meaningful projects.

4. Act now

While still in high school, they're making connections with future workplaces through teachers and volunteer work as well as their parents.

5. Act responsibly

Be a good corporate citizen.

Source: Fluid Impact HR professional Jeanne Albert

 

Amanda Pope

 

 

Age: 17

Company: Biblicare

Website: biblicare.ca

Launched: 2015

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

An elderly services business providing housekeeping, Bible study and companionship at people's homes as well as local long-term care homes.

Watching her own grandfather suffer from five cardiac arrests, paralysis and kidney dialysis made Amanda Pope want to help other people's loved ones.

The St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic High School student knew she wanted to start her own business before that, but coming up with an idea was the challenge.

Seeing the struggles her grandfather faced starting in October 2014 and his road to recovery made her decision much easier.

"That was my inspiration," she said. "After seeing how negative his lifestyle became and how dependent he became on his busy family, it made me realize he's not the only elderly person in need of these services and the extra assistance."

Since then, Pope has gathered 30 clients who she sees on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

She's also hired two employees who help her with visits.

Now in Grade 12, her plan for next year is to go to university and study journalism and business, but she wants to keep her business going by bringing more staff onboard to help.

Her big-picture goal is to expand Biblicare internationally.

"This business, I have so much passion for it, she said. "It doesn't feel like work. It just feels like something I enjoy doing."

"The bonus is I get paid for it."

GIVING BACK

People have busy lives, she said, she hopes to give back to the community by filling a gap.

"I know that not a lot of people are able to get the assistance because with families for example…they're trying to raise their family, and sometimes they can't be with their own parents, too," she said. "If I could be there, it would be great."

 

Eliad Moosavi

 

 

Age: 21

Company: StockDrops.com

Launched: 2015

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

A website that compiles free, downloadable stock images in a searchable database for anyone to use.

Since he was a kid, Eliad Moosavi has spent his free time reading business and financial news, from Entrepreneur.com to Business Insider, to Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

While he probably only understood half of it, it kept him excited and engaged, he said.

"I think I've always had the entrepreneurship spirit inside of me," Moosavi said. "It just really got me."

Fast-forward to today: the McMaster University software engineering student is putting his dreams into practice by developing some of his own ideas into businesses.

One of those is StockDrops.com, created by Moosavi at a 36-hour hackathon in Chicago where he took home first prize from IBM.

The website that compiles free stock images in a searchable database embodies the quality he is trying to have in every business he creates: automation.

Pictures get downloaded and categorized using a technology from IBM. If the photo is of a dog, it could be tagged dog, pet and animal, for example.

StockDrops.com is generating a buzz — so far Moosavi has verbal offers for partnerships with PayPal and Walgreens, he said.

But the 21-year-old has other plans in the works, including developing a security solution software — what he calls the "most important thing in my life right now" — plus trying to secure funding for an idea he thinks could help people with dementia.

It's a text-messaging service that provides automatic reminders to help people with their daily routine — taking prescriptions, washing their face and brushing their teeth.

GIVING BACK

While this idea is not one he plans to create a business from, Moosavi does hope some of his future companies can contribute to the greater good.

"Hopefully if it benefits even one person, obviously the mental value that it would have for me is much more bigger than any prize I could win," he said.

 

Rayan Hamouda

 

 

Age: 17

Company: Magic Looks

Website: magiclooks.ca

Launched: 2015

What it's all about

Selling accessories and body art for women, ranging from bracelets and rings to items for the Muslim community, including hijabs and underscarves.

Rayan Hamouda was bitten by the business bug as a youngster, taking oddly-shaped pencils you couldn't find in Canada to school and hawking them to her classmates for a dollar.

Once she got a little older and mentioned her interest in the field to her businessman father, Hamouda was encouraged to give it a shot.

"He said, if you want to do business, then you might as well try it and see if you like it," the St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School student said.

That's exactly what she did last summer, enrolling in the Ontario Summer Companies program to help get her idea off the ground.

Since then, she has been selling her products outside her mosque, at festivals in Burlington and Hamilton and at house parties.

She wants to keep her business open and continue to grow it, but the field of social work is what she has her eye on for when she finishes school.

But now that she's worked for herself, it's not something she wants to stop.

"I think I like self-employment better than working for someone else," Hamouda said. "The feeling of being your own person and making your own decisions without anyone shutting them down or anything. I like it."

GIVING BACK

Besides juggling school and Magic Looks, Hamouda is also organizing a women's empowerment conference for high school- and university-aged students as well as immigrant women to network.

Seeing how helpful her mom is to anyone who needs a lending hand as well as learning from historical figures who have made an impact — such as Martin Luther King Jr. — is what prompted her to try and make a difference.

"I want to make a change — leave my fingerprint before I leave," she said. "I want to be a positive image for everyone to look at and say, that's how Muslims are."

 

Josh Tiessen

 

 

Age: 20

Company: Josh Tiessen Studio Gallery

Website: joshtiessen.com

Launched: 2010

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

A studio gallery housed in an addition on the back of the Tiessen family home where his work hangs for viewing and is available for sale.

A job as an artist — it's a concept Josh Tiessen says his friends have taken a while to come around to. But his parents have always supported it.

It's a craft he's undoubtedly been working toward since his youth.

He's now a 20-year-old who lives in Stoney Creek, but he held his first public art exhibition at 11.

Since then it's been a bit of a whirlwind — being mentored and recommended by famed wildlife artist Robert Bateman, holding shows at galleries across North America, opening his studio gallery at 15 and graduating from high school a year later at 16.

"It's a little bit outside of the box," Tiessen said.

While he's working part-time toward a bachelor's degree of religious education in arts and biblical education, art is it for him.

His studio gallery is registered as a business, and when he sells paintings, it's money that helps fund his travels to shows in the United States and Canada.

A percentage also goes to Mom, who works part-time for the gallery, Tiessen said.

Despite self-funding the gallery — it's been all his own money from the start — Tiessen said he considers himself an artist first and an entrepreneur second.

"The entrepreneurial side has been something more learned and developed over time," he said. "It's very challenging to really find a manual out there to make an art career because of how outside the box it can be."

GIVING BACK

Giving back is also important to Tiessen, who started his Arts for a Change foundation, which has supported more than 40 charities by donating art to fundraisers and giving a portion of art sales to them. "People who purchase my art know they're also supporting very worthy causes," he said.

 

Maya Amoah

 

 

Age: 20

Company: Nebula Artwear

Website: nebulaartwear.com

Launched: 2012

 

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

 

A hand-painted, galaxy-inspired clothing line, including shirts, bras, dresses, leggings and bodysuits.

After four years of making and selling her own clothing, Maya Amoah finds the process both enjoyable and meditative.

"It's still like a hobby," she said. "I don't consider it a fulltime career."

It started in Grade 10 with a love of fashion and playing around with paints but grew when she wore her creations to school to receive many comments and inquiries about whether they were for sale.

Not having a part-time job at the time, Amoah figured she'd give it a go. She ended up getting her clothing into a handful of stores in Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal.

Since then, she's expanded her scope.

Amoah always planned to work after high school to save money and travel, so she took off. She has visited 18 countries in Europe so far.

And she's continued to sell her products, including at "feiras" — fairs — in Lisbon, Portugal around Christmas.

Between the proceeds from her clothing and freelance writing for fashion and travel publications, Amoah said she's been able to completely fund her travels.

She'd planned to come back to Canada in September to start studying journalism at Ryerson University, but now that she's had a taste of travelling, she doesn't know if she'll ever return permanently.

"It's kind of a dream, I think, if I could just travel forever and sell at different markets in different countries and sell in different stories," Amoah said. "I'm trying to work towards that."

 

GIVING BACK

 

Though she loves fashion, Amoah said she has also discovered it is "flawed" — it promotes consumerism.

One way she tries to combat that is by buying local as well as used products.

For her business, she produces Nebular Artwear on sweatshop-free clothing like American Apparel products.

 

 

npaddon@thespec.com

The B.C. government unveiled plans Monday to introduce computer coding in its school curriculum, addressing a chronic skills shortage in one of the few areas of the Canadian economy that is doing well – technology.

“Every kindergarten to grade 12 student will have…the opportunity to learn the basics of coding,” Premier Christy Clark said at the opening of a two-day provincial government-backed summit on technology in Vancouver.

Tech sector could make up for resource slump (BNN Video)

Ms. Clark announced the change, first revealed Sunday by The Globe and Mail, as part of a broader strategy to deliver more support to the province’s tech sector. It’s a shift for a government whose economic agenda has largely focused on natural resources, though B.C.’s flourishing tech sector employs 86,000 people – more than forestry, mining and oil and gas combined. The government unveiled the first piece of the strategy last month, creating a$100-million venture fund to finance startups.

Canadian political leaders have increasingly championed the digital economyafter largely overlooking the sector in recent years. With oil and other commodities trading at multiyear lows, the economy teetering and a new class of startups gaining traction and disrupting traditional industries, Canadian politicians are hearing they need new, effective approaches to foster innovation and support tech startups.

A group of successful Canadian tech entrepreneurs, for example, recently warned Ottawa that a Liberal election pledge to fully tax stock-option gains above $100,000 would stunt their ability to attract talent.

Meanwhile, a chronic skills and talent shortage is expected to worsen, with Canada forecast to be short more than 180,000 information, communications and technology workers by 2019, according to one recent report.

“Computer science skills … are increasingly critical as technology is where all future job growth lies,” said Jeff Booth, CEO of Vancouver’s BuildDirect Technologies Inc., a web platform for ordering construction materials with 330 employees. “There is already a war for talent in technology that has companies like ours searching the world for the best engineers. … It’s very possible that computer coding and other technology skills may become as critical as reading and writing.”

Last week, during a visit to Google’s new Canadian operation in Waterloo, Ont., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged, “We need to do a lot better job of getting young people to understand what coding is and how it’s important.”

The new B.C. coding curriculum will be introduced across all grades over the next three years, featuring new standards in mathematics and sciences and a new and redesigned “applied design, skills and technologies” (ADST) component to improve students’ abilities to solve problems and think creatively.

The way students are taught will change starting in kindergarten, through “exploratory and purposeful play” that stimulates an aptitude for ADST. As they age, B.C. students will learn about computational thinking and learn the various aspects of programming. By the end of Grade 9, the government “students will also be able to experience basic coding,” a government source said.

Ms. Clark said it’s her goal to ensure coding education “doesn’t just become an opportunity for every child to take part in, but to ultimately make it mandatory for every child from kindergarten to grade 12 to learn about coding and how it works.

Students in middle grades will learn how to code, debug algorithms and use various coding techniques, including visual programming, while high-school students will have the opportunity to specialize in particular areas of technology.

B.C. follows Nova Scotia, which announced last October it will introduce coding to the curriculum this fall. Coding was also recently added to school curriculum in Britain and is coming in Australia.

While most Canadian provinces offer some computer-science classes and technology in classrooms, the net result is a patchwork, bolstered by outside initiatives aimed at addressing the coding deficiency in schools, such asGoogle-backed program Codemakers, which seeks to expose 100,000 Canadian children to programming.

Members of the Canadian tech community praised the coming B.C. initiative. “Providing a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum early in a child’s education is fundamental in advancing Canada’s innovation agenda,” said John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, a leading Canadian venture-capital fund. “Hopefully, the rest of Canada will follow [B.C.’s] lead.”

Canadian tech entrepreneur and investor Jevon MacDonald said, “It’s amazing to see different provinces taking the initiative to include computer programming in our public-school curriculum,” and called on provinces to jointly develop national coding education standards. “This would mean that no Canadian child would miss out.”

Tobi Lutke, chief executive officer of Ottawa-based Shopify Inc., one of Canada’s most successful startups, said it’s essential to vanquish “one of the greatest generational divides in history” by encouraging widespread computer literacy. “To the initiated, computers can solve nearly any workflow problem,” he said. “There is a reason why almost all entrepreneurs are ‘techies’ these days – they are the only ones that can teach computers new things. It’s an unfair advantage and entirely unnecessary. Computer programming is not hard and it is a whole lot of fun.

“Essentially every company in the world is either turning into a software company or is in the process of dying because of a software company,” Mr. Lutke added. “In this great reshuffling of the business world, we need Canada to end up with a good share of the newly created and scaled companies. There is tremendous upside for Canada in making computer literacy part of the core curriculum. … Whoever figures out how to teach computer literacy first will have by far the most prepared work force. It’s hard to overestimate the potential of that.”

The B.C. government announced other initiatives to support the tech sector, including making it easier for tech firms to sell to government.

 

 

Boot camps, ‘an accelerated launch pad into a career,’ are cropping up coast to coast to coast

 


Paulo Ancheta, 27, makes a delicious sous vide rib-eye steak. But Ancheta is more likely to tell you about Goodbits, a new newsletter platform he’s working on, than his mean cooking skills. After emigrating from the Philippines in 2008, Ancheta trained in Italian and French cuisine. For six years he bounced between small Vancouver restaurants and hotels, but dreamed of being a software developer. In the spring, he signed up for the CodeCore Bootcamp. Eight weeks later, he was hired as an apprentice web developer with Brewhouse Software in Gastown.

CodeCore, based in Vancouver, is one of many coding boot camps that have sprung up across Canada recently. Known for their ability to stay on top of industry trends, they are the new source for filling the talent gap, particularly in smaller, creative industries and start-ups on the hunt for developers with hard skills.

A recent labour market report from the Information and Communications Technology Council says Canada will need 182,000 workers to fill IT jobs by 2019.

Offering small class sizes (typically 25 students) and mentorship from professional instructors with experience in the tech industry, this new wave of short, intensive courses trains graduates to hit the ground running. “People are dying for developers,” explains Jeremy Shaki, CEO and co-founder of Lighthouse Labs, a coding school that offers web and iOS development programs in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and even Whitehorse. “Boot camps offer an accelerated launchpad into a career.”

The usual route is a four-year university degree or a three-year college diploma in computer sciences. Though many IT positions require a computer-science degree, these jobs tend to be at larger corporations such as Microsoft. University graduates sometimes lack hands-on experience demanded by the blossoming tech start-up scene.

“We’ve heard students say they’ve completed computer-science degrees and never written a line of code,” says Charlyne Fothergill, director of career services for Lighthouse Labs and a former HR manager in high tech.

Though demand outstrips placements, with acceptance rates at about 25 to 30 per cent, these mini-schools do not require experience in coding or a background in computer sciences. The main prerequisite is the desire to be a developer. (Schools do test for basic skills.)

The six- to 12-week boot camps, which cost from $6,000 to $12,000, are cheaper and faster than a university or college program. This appeals to “career-changers”­—25- to 35-year-olds looking for a way to acquire a new skill set that complements their area of expertise. “We’re taking a lot of already-professionals and teaching them to be developers, which a lot of companies find very valuable,” says Shaki. “Code has become a vessel for whatever other passions [developers] have.”

Bootcamps typically offer career services, which connect students to a network of potential employers. Across Canada, more than 90 per cent of bootcamp students are hired within months of graduating. “Anyone who graduates and wants a job has gotten one within three months,” he says.

Some colleges and institutes across Canada have started offering intensive web-development programs. For example, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary offers a 23-week “fast-track” certificate in web development, which includes an eight-week practicum and boasts a 90 per cent employment rate. These programs feature a narrowly focused coding curriculum. “I was a bit skeptical of the eight-week boot camp, as somebody with zero experience,” explains Gillian Black, a 29-year-old development intern at a Toronto-based advertising agency, who got a post-grad certificate in web development from Humber College in Toronto. For the fine arts and psychology grad, the year-long program seemed a safer bet. “I learned more languages and had a longer time to develop a portfolio . . . This put me at an advantage,” Black says, although “it’s definitely possible to do [boot camp] and get hired as a junior developer.” Junior web developers can expect an entry-level salary of $40,000 to $50,000. Senior developers with eight to 10 years of experience can earn more than $80,000.

Source: http://www.macleans.ca/education/coding-ca...