A key part of our March Break and Summer Camp programs are the field trips which put students face to face with industry experts and companies that use coding to change the world. One of those companies is Mozilla, developers of the free, open-source web browser Firefox.
Hatch has visited Mozilla’s Toronto office several times in the past year. Each field trip introduces our campers to the company’s development team and gives them the opportunity to see how code is being used in real-life products. It also allows the kids to show off their own coding skills to the company’s developers! It’s incredibly exciting to watch the kids and developers interact and learn from one another, as Mike Hoye will tell you. Mike is Mozilla’s Engineering Community Manager. We recently had the chance to speak with him about the role coding plays in Mozilla’s business, the benefits of learning coding from a young age and the impact Hatch’s field trip visits have on the company.
Thanks for speaking with us, Mike! Can you tell us a bit about Mozilla? What do we need to know?!
Mozilla is an open-source software organization – a not-for-profit company and a much larger global community – that builds products and does policy advocacy in support of a free and open Web. We're best known for our flagship product, the Firefox web browser, but between new products and policy activism we've got a lot of irons in the fire.
Hatch Canada has visited the Mozilla offices in Toronto before. How did that go?
Hatch Canada has visited several times, and we have a blast every time. The kids tech demos are great fun, and it's wonderful to see young kids showing off work they're proud of.
Why do you think it's important for people in the tech and related industries to say yes to field trips like these?
I think that giving kids a sense of what their options are – and where their choices could take them – is important. Being able to see the similarities between the toy projects people are working on as kids and the much larger, more complicated projects they'd be building up to – and have experienced professionals telling them their own growth and success stories – is important, and I hope inspirational.
What role does coding and programming play in what Mozilla does?
Software is the lever we use to move the world. We believe that the Web should be free and open, something anyone can participate in, connect with and build on top of, and code is one of the most important tools we use to advance that vision.
What do you see as some of the benefits of learning coding at a young age?
When everything has software in it, software literacy is just... literacy. Like reading and arithmetic, it's a tool you have to have if you want to to be able to make sense of the world and have a say in how the world works. If you don't understand the systems around you – if you can't understand the systems around you, how they operate and interoperate – then you're largely at the mercy of people who do. Learning to code at an early age means learning how to be a responsible citizen of modernity at an early age, and it's critically important.
What surprised you most about meeting and hosting Hatch students at Mozilla?
Oh man! Having the students in was so great, because you can see the formative stages of so many of your own habits and the personalities of the people you work with. Seeing young people – they’re so young, holy cow – shipping software never stops being a surprise, but the attitudes they bring to it – pride, enthusiasm, that desire to tell their own stories – is always wonderful.
We absolutely agree! Thanks for your own enthusiasm and support, Mike. We are thrilled to be able to work with Mozilla and we know Hatch kids always enjoy visiting.