Meet the Authors:

Vivian Rashotte is a digital marketer at Three Point Turn. She's a writer and a visual artist who's interested in digital strategy, brand management and creating compelling web content.

Trishan Gunness is lead developer at Three Point Turn. He shares insight on enterprise development, system design and development culture. He lives in Oakville, Ontario.

Nafeu Nasir has a versatile set of skills in graphic design and software development. He's currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science at the University of Toronto.

Anderson Hung recently graduated with a degree in mental health studies. He's a web development intern who's lending a hand with marketing projects at Three Point Turn.

How Toronto Is Setting the New Standard For Women In Tech

Posted on: October 14th, 2014 by


Women in tech are creators of digital content
Around the world a cultural shift is taking place with digital literacy at the forefront. The last few years have seen the rise of a huge “learn to code” movement, which pushes the idea that coding is the new literacy for the 21st century. The movement includes professionals outside of technical roles, and we can expect digital literacy to be a critical skill for many non-traditional roles.

Parallel to the overall movement is a growing initiative to reach women in tech. While it’s no secret that the tech sector struggles with gender diversity, it looks like things are slowly starting to change .

Toronto’s female-run code academies encourage more women in tech

Toronto is home to a number of female-run and female-founded code academies that are helping to close the gender gap for women in tech. Three academies stand out for their strong female leadership: Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou and Camp Tech. Ladies Learning Code is a Toronto-based not-for-profit that was founded in 2011 by four young entrepreneurs: Heather Payne, Breanna Hughes, Laura Plant and Melissa Sariffodeen. The same group of women launched HackerYou in 2012. Camp Tech is a digital skills training community started by Avery Swartz, one of Toronto’s award-winning web designers.

Between Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou and Camp Tech, a lot is being done to encourage women across Canada to become digitally literate. All three code academies are social, collaborative and hands-on, but they offer slightly different learning experiences. Ladies Learning Code caters specifically to women and offers one-day beginner workshops. HackerYou is a web development “bootcamp” for more serious programmers; it’s open to both genders but almost 80% of its applicants are female. Camp Tech offers one-day workshops that are tailored to entrepreneurs, digital professionals, and men and women who have beginner-level technical skills.

Cracking the code on tech’s glass ceiling

The need for more tech training centres like Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou and Camp Tech is clearly illustrated by the diversity statistics disclosed by a number of big tech companies. This year Pinterest revealed that only 21% of its technical staff are women, while Google, Facebook and LinkedIn reported even lower numbers. These metrics reflect a startling imbalance of women in the tech industry, especially in leadership positions.

Toronto’s code academies address the critical problem of a lack of women in computing by providing women with in-person learning opportunities that didn’t exist before. Some women never had the opportunity to become involved in computer science (or, in many cases, were rarely encouraged to develop an interest) due to having little exposure to the field.  Slowly, the learning barriers facing women are breaking down as more resources become available for women to become digitally literate or improve their existing technical skills. As influential consumers of technology, it makes sense that women should strive to be creators of technology as well.

“The social and collaborative elements of workshops create a comfortable environment for women who are meeting learning barriers; they find the confidence to take their learning further.”

(Melissa Sariffodeen, Co-founder at Ladies Learning Code)

Helping women and girls see technology in a new light

Toronto’s code academies are helping women and girls to see technology in a new light. Coding is not an end in and of itself—it can help you gain a deeper understanding of our world, provide you with greater career opportunities and even enhance your capacity for creativity. In our increasingly digital world, knowing how to read and write code means being able to critically engage with the technologies we use every day.

Toronto is quickly becoming a bustling digital hub for developers and digital professionals. Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou and Camp Tech are just three of the city’s many centres to learn how to code. If you’re interested in knowing more about code classes in Toronto as well as online resources to learn how to code, download our code academy paper, Everybody Can Learn to Code.




Vivian Rashotte is a digital marketer at Three Point Turn. She's a writer and a visual artist who's interested in digital strategy, brand management and creating compelling web content.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply