Dropping out of class, dropping into another

The World Economic forums released a report on the trends in employment for various sectors.

One of the most stable, growing and in-demand spheres of work was the computer and technology field. This comes to no surprise, of course.

We live in the Information Era – one in which the founding of the Internet is compared as being superior or on par to the discovery of electricity and the innovations because of it. It makes sense that every day so many companies are investing and growing in and with Big Data.

big data?

All the data that’s gathered from our cellphone towers, our social media sites, our ways of life… is all information. And information is huge, valuable, complex and takes up a lot of space.

What we do with, how we handle and why we use the information is vital to grow the technology field. Everything we do with this quasi-infinite amount of information is summed into one term: Big Data Management.

Data miners, which are engineers who filter and dig through copious amounts of info, focus on finding the appropriate data and information for their project and translate it into words, images and graphs that can be understood in laymen’s terms.

Information can be used for a variety of reasons. It can be used to summarize revenues and direct a company to invest more money in a specific area. It can be used to target demographics and create change campaigns. And it can be used to save lives.

More and more we have health trackers that remind us to drink, to modify our sleeping habits, or to warn us if we’re about to have an epilepsy attack. The latter is exactly what Neutun Labs is doing. They gather data about patients through their smartwatches and can predict when they are about to have an epilepsy attack, so that they are better prepared to handle it. They use big data and translate it into life-changing knowledge. There are full teams of engineers and computer science experts needed to make the application a reality, so it’s no wonder the industry is booming with demand for qualified personnel.

but what if I don’t want to go to school?

That’s OK. School isn’t for everyone though – and this is true. We all learn differently. We all work differently.  Often, the tech sector requires you to have advanced knowledge in programming and computer science, as well as high grades in order to even have your foot in the door.

And that’s even harder to do if you’ve dropped out of school. For whatever reasons that is, it still does not take away the value education and learning brings to one’s career, especially if one wishes to cash in on the early access to the blooming tech industry. Maybe there are barriers preventing you from doing so. But what if there was a way to address those barriers? Hmm…

That’s where a new, alternative form of learning comes in: instead of learning how to code in an institutionalized setting like a classroom, you could learn it in an open and inclusive space, filled with snacks, mentorship and a sharing environment which challenges you and keeps you focused. How does that sound?

That sounds great! But does that exist?

It does now. And it’s called Code Youth.

Essentially, you could learn all about programming and coding with your friends and amongst your peers, use an open, modern and comfortable space to learn and grow, be supported with services that address barriers that prevent you from continuing education, keep your belly full and your mind rich with nutrients with a grab-and-go food space, and complete the program with a nano-degree in coding in a variety of common coding languages.

And on top of that, the program could provide grants to people that need it, as well as find potential employment with partner employers who are willing to give talented coders a shot.

Surprisingly, there are few organizations that have done this… in the world. This would be the first in Ottawa. And the first in Canada.

This grassroots initiative is currently building its pilot project and is set for approval in the fall of 2017, with the first cohort being recruited shortly after. It hopes to garner much support from the tech industry and is always looking for volunteers or donations to keep the project going.

The future is based on the tech industry having enough programmers and coders to sustain a new way of life. And if education is the most powerful tool to change the world, it is vital that we provide those tools and find talent in those that might not be able to showcase it to the best of their abilities.

That means bringing the resources where the people are the most comfortable, that means making it as accessible as possible, that means finding local mentors that are relatable and knowledgeable, that means making connections that are meaningful and impactful, and that means making sure that everyone has the tools to succeed in this age of big data.

How’s that for some info?

-Max