How Coding Can Help Your Career

How Coding Can Help Your Career

By Fahd Pasha

An interesting predicament has been brewing in the workplace. A number of great, well-paying jobs are being left empty for long periods due to a lack of candidates with IT qualifications. According to a labour market report from The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), there will be a shortage of more than 200,000 information and communications technology workers in Canada by 2020. Shocking statistics for a country living in the digital world.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!

Canada is well on its way to becoming the Silicon Valley of the North – thanks to hubs such as Toronto and Waterloo. Not surprisingly, Thomson Reuters recently selected Toronto as their latest home for a tech hub. With the industry poised to grow exponentially, there are many skills to consider should you decide to enter the profession. One of them is coding.

By mastering programming languages you can set yourself apart from others to prospective employers. To illustrate the value you gain from taking on such a skill, we spoke to Miriam Goldman, a Web Developer for Fuel Industries who’s been coding for more than a decade.


Tell us about your current role with Fuel Industries

I am currently a front-end web developer working with the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming languages. I take designs from our web designers and implement them. I’m also learning back-end development duties, which is essentially working on the interaction between the database and the web application. [Think of frames of a house!] Together, once my back-end skills sharpen, I’ll soon be a full-stack web developer, able to code all aspects of a web application.


What motivated you to get into coding?

In the mid-90s, when the internet was just taking off, they had many free website builders, such as Angelfire and GeoCities. As a teenager, I was a big Sailor Moon (currently Star Trek) fan, which inspired me to build fan pages. Eventually, as I was entering my first career path, when it became apparent that it wasn’t right for me, I decided to look back at what interested me early on in my life – which was coding.


Why are you so passionate about coding?

It’s stemmed ever since I was a teenager. But, to be honest, it’s more so the industry. In a field that’s always evolving – you have to be constantly learning and on top of everything. The challenges that come from being on top of your game are very appealing; doing so helps keep my mind sharp.


What are the top three skills you’ve gained from coding?

Definitely more than three! However, if I had to pinpoint, the three main ones would be:

  • Confidence: It gave me the belief that I had the ability to see a project through from start to finish.
  • Strength in my self-learning ability: With new technology emerging every day, you need to take initiative to learn the most recent programming languages. For instance, if my boss asks me to learn something, I have the confidence to take a week or so to study and apply a new tool.
  • Attention to detail: If I forget even a “semi-colon”, the whole program can fall into pieces. The quality is critical that I carry with me every day.


You volunteer with Ladies Learning Code, a growing initiative for young women in Canada. What made you want to do it?

I got involved as a mentor with Ladies Learning Code because I wanted to give back to the community. There weren’t any initiatives of the sort while I was getting my career off the ground, so it's important to have people like myself who’re passionate about their jobs, to help those just starting out.


What programming languages do you recommend for those considering getting into coding?

For starters, I’d suggest HTML5 and JavaScript, as everything is going mobile, and SQL (a relational database management language). Plus, one that is going to be very popular in the future is Ruby; and then PHP for content management systems.


Finally, what advice would you give to those just starting out in the industry?

Don't give up. While it might be frustrating at first, and things seemingly out of reach, although once you understand the logic and syntax, results will soon follow. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help from those more experienced. More often than not, experts are happy to offer advice. Sometimes, both parties just need a fresh perspective on things.

All views expressed in this interview are Miriam’s and not those of Fuel Industries.