Your child might think they already know what they do and do not like. But sometimes a nudge to try something new could result in a new passion and talent. So why not have them give coding a shot?
Meet the newest addition to Hatch Coding’s Development team - Shahnaz Shariff! She’s a full-stack developer and connoisseur of fusion cooking. We sat down with her to learn about her experiences and why she choose a career in programming.
When did you first learn how to code?
I was first introduced to coding in Grade 9 to C and C++ programming languages and it interested me to learn more. So I chose Computer Science as my Grade 11 elective. I did well and loved it, and that’s when I decided to pursue a career in engineering.
After high school, I pursued my Engineering Degree in Information Technology. I learned to put my knowledge into practice and started building applications. In high school, we were only introduced to the concepts of coding but we never got to see what we could build with it. I got satisfaction seeing my small blocks of code reflected immediately. And how adding an HTML file alters a website immediately. It was more exciting to work in this way and build a project from start to end.
During my internship with Tata Consultancy Services I developed a passion for Data Science so I pursued this passion and went on to get my Masters at Queens University. I did my thesis on improving a widely used automation testing tool - Selenium. It was a lot of fun to be part of something that improved testing web applications for developers. I landed my first job as a full-stack developer at a Toronto-based startup before joining Hatch Coding.
What made you choose Hatch Coding?
I’ve always wanted to work in an Ed-Tech company and give back to the community, so it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I’m most proud of building Hatch Coding’s analytics dashboard that shows important stats on how students are using the platform. I'm currently working on a Code Checker tool that points out the errors in the student's code. It will also have the ability to auto-grade projects!
Here at Hatch Coding, I know that every small feature I build will in turn help a kid learn coding better - one of the most important skills in this era - and that's what keeps me going!
Why do you think coding education is important?
What soft skills have been vital to the success of your career?
Communication skills are so important as a computer programmer, as reading and understanding documents is 40% of our job. You need to know how to clearly communicate your findings to your colleagues - like why you use this method or why you don’t. You need to be able to know how to work in a team, as you never work alone and there are always other people - like a designer, other developers, product manager - that you’ll work with and that’s why interpersonal skills are key to have to be a successful programmer.
What advice would you give to parents considering signing their kid up for learning to code?
Most kids (and adults) might think that coding is really difficult, but it’s really not as difficult as it seems. Once it’s broken down into smaller chunks, and you’re working on a smaller task it becomes easier to build out your project completely. This way kids can visualize and actually see and understand how other apps are built out. And it all comes down to that, so just have them give it a shot!
Even if kids decide later on that coding is not their thing, they might like the other parts - like planning and designing an application. Learning to code could open up other doors for career ideas other than becoming a programmer.
Take a Risk: Try a New Skill
I wish I had participated in more extracurricular activities growing up because you don’t truly know what could spark your interests until you give something new a shot. Try out as many things as possible and you’ll be sure to find something that really sticks and it could surprise you to where it can take you in life.
Shahnaz continues to bring her passion and talent for programming and education to the Hatch Coding community and has a ‘no task is too small or large’ mentality. We’re so lucky to have her on our team!