11 Questions with Ladies Learning Code

Have you ever wanted to learn how to build a website or understand computer coding, but weren’t sure where to begin? Ladies Learning Code provides workshops that cover everything from basic HTML to other programming languages such as Python or Scratch. Leading up to National Girls Learning Code Day 2016, we asked Christina Jones, the Victoria youth chapter lead, to share a bit more about Ladies Learning Code.

Q: Who or what is Ladies Learning Code?

A: Ladies Learning Code is a Canada-wide not-for-profit organization that runs workshops for women and youth who want to learn beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way.

Q: Why is it important for women and girls to learn to code?

A: Ladies Learning Code was created to address the skills shortage in Canada and the gender divide in the tech industry, especially as coding becomes even more relevant in the future. We want to help women, and especially girls, understand they have the power to create technology, not just consume it.

Q: Do I need to be an expert to attend a Ladies Learning Code event?

A: Not at all. Tech is one of those things some people think is unattainable by telling themselves they could never code or build a website, but we make it so almost anyone can learn how.

Q: Why should someone consider attending?

A: They’re super fun! Our workshops give you an opportunity to try to learn a skill in a very safe and non-threatening environment where the focus is on enjoying yourself without any pressure.

Q: What can women learn from Ladies Learning Code?

A: We teach all kinds of beginner tech skills. The most common one-day workshop is dedicated to coding basics where you can come in not knowing anything and walk out with your very own website, which you created. A few examples of the more advanced workshops hosted in Victoria include how to build a Shopify account and other programming languages such as Python, Ruby, WordPress, jQuery and Javascript.

Q: What can kids learn from Kids Learning Code?

A: We teach the basics of coding for kids and have led more advanced workshops in the past as well. For our younger learners who don’t yet have typing skills, we like to use Scratch – a coding language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology specifically for kids. It’s more visual, letting you build code by dragging and dropping different elements. We’re also planning to teach image editing in the future.

Q: What’s the best part of helping girls learn to code?

A: Seeing the ‘aha’ moment on girls’ faces when they realize they have the power to animate something is priceless. Their creativity is very inspiring and they come up with some amazing things!

For National Girls Learning Code Day in 2015, each girl in attendance made her own website and showed everyone at the end. The diversity of what girls can create and the imagination demonstrated in their websites is unbelievable.

Q: How did Ladies Learning Code get started in Victoria?

A: In 2014, Erin Athene, the Victoria chapter lead, wanted to learn coding but couldn’t find anywhere local to learn how. She came across Ladies Learning Code in Toronto and asked them why there wasn’t a chapter in Victoria. Ladies Learning Code responded that no one from the area had reached out yet, so that’s how the Victoria Chapter began.

Q: How many chapters are there in B.C.?

A: Ladies Learning Code has three chapters in B.C. (Vancouver, Victoria and central Vancouver Island) plus a thriving girls program called Girls Learning Code and a co-ed kids program called Kids Learning Code.

Q: Is there anything else you want people to know about Ladies Learning Code?

A: If you live in Vancouver, there are Ladies Learning Code events running almost weekly. You can stay up to date by following us on social media and checking the Ladies Learning Code website for upcoming events. If you’re ever in another chapter city, you can also join the mailing list for those areas. We have also hosted successful summer camps and are planning more for the future.

If you are thinking of starting a chapter in your community, get in touch!  Ladies Learning Code is very warm and embracing; they help provide mentors and people to teach or speak at local events.

Q: How can I get in touch?

A: You can email the Victoria chapter, or visit the Ladies Learning Code website to find other chapters and their contact information.

Image courtesy of Trevor Ball Photography.