With the demand for people with the ability to code on the rise, it's becoming a much more attractive skill to learn. Photo credit: Jack Casselman

Sam Murdock – Game Master at Lockdown Ottawa and participant at Algonquin College’s Arduino workshop on Sept. 24 – has coded before. If you attended a workshop with him, you might think he knew exactly what he was doing.

But Murdock was at the workshop, hosted by ARIE, because he had never coded with an Arduino, the low-powered mini-computer used in so many prototypes in the Applied Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab.

Murdock equated the coding to puzzle-solving.

“You don’t know what the puzzle is supposed to look like. You’re both making it, and putting the pieces together at the same time.”

Darren Taubman, a carpentry professor from Algonquin’s Perth campus, was in attendance for more personal reasons.

“I appreciate that ARIE has been offering these courses,” Taubman said. “It expands our knowledge. I hear my kids talking about it all the time.”

Ontario’s math curriculum in elementary schools was updated in June 2020. According to the Ministry of Education, beginning in September 2020, children in the first grade will be learning to code.

The beginner’s workshop, was led by Stephen Gagne, a professor in the School of Business at the college. According to Gagne, “coding is more than just inputs and outputs. Being able to code teaches you how to think properly.”

“As it stands right now, coding is the number one most employable skill. If you have coding as part of your skillset, you are in demand in just about every industry.”

What was once a single-session workshop is now a four-part event. As the demand for basic knowledge in coding increases, ARIE is looking at expanding their events to cover the basics in every programming language.