It goes without saying that technology needs to be a driving force in Canada’s economy. Currently, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry represents only about 5% of Canada’s economy. We are trailing our OECD peer nations, and are below average in respect to ICT revenues as a percentage of economy. We are also slipping in the ranks on the Conference Board of Canada’s Innovation Rankings. Teaching our children, both boys and girls, how to code is vital to helping Canada remain competitive on the world stage.

Looking at the Branham 300 list of Canadian technology companies, it’s surprising that Canada would be in the position we are in terms of innovation and technology adoption. Canadians take to the internet, social media and wireless technologies extremely well. In terms of technology development in Canada, we are lagging behind important competitors, and getting kids started on coding early takes advantage of the “digital native” mindset of kids today and tech.

Young Canadians under twenty, like no other generation before them, can’t imagine a world without mobile devices, high speed internet access, and streaming video and audio like Netflix and iTunes. They take to tech like a fish to water, and introducing concepts like coding languages early is like introducing another spoken language.

Some of the key languages which are in the forefront of application development include:
• JavaScriptrQJ9kh8
• Visual Basic
• .NET, C# and C++
• LAMP stack development (Linux, ASP, MySQL and PHP/PERL/Python)
MEAN stack development (MongoDB, Express application framework, AngularJS by Google and Node.js)

There are many languages to learn, and to get a child to try and learn all of these platforms would be extremely unlikely. However with events like the “Day of Code” in the US, and groups such as Ladies Learning Code, a new imperative to help young people start to learn development skills is gaining momentum.

In some cases, the rise and fall of Canadian technology giants Nortel and Blackberry may have made some parents and young people wary about entering technology as a career path. A great deal of application development and technology services are outsourced to offshore providers, even by some banks and public sector organizations.

Older Canadians are often very eager for skills training, however they tend to opt for career paths outside the ICT industry, leaving a skills gap in programming. Getting millennials and younger Canadians out of liberal arts programs and into application development is vital to Canada’s future. Some of Canada’s largest technology companies are contracting or employing developers offshore, as they don’t feel they can source talent here at home.


If you have a young person in your family who demonstrates an interest in application development, game development, or coding in general, stoking the flames of their interest is a good strategy. Check out programs like the Scratch project or Blockly to get them interested in languages like Python for gaming and applications. The combination of fun and learning a new skill can start the momentum towards interest in a career in coding. To maintain their interest, contact Under the GUI or a youth coding group near you.

Coding can be a very rewarding career for Canada’s digital native generation. Getting them started early on a path to programming is in their best interest, and is vital to our country’s future as well.