When I graduated with a Math and Physics degree and few meaningful job options, everyone told me I should teach. "Are you kidding me? I haven't got the patience for that!"

So I didn't teach.

And the job options remained scarce. Two years after that expensive degree, I was working three part time jobs and still worrying about where my rent was going to come from.

That wasn't going to cut it.

So I scoured the program listings of every college within TTC radius, in search of something interesting that someone would pay me to do. I settled on a six month Web Dev & Design crash course at Humber. I commuted to Rexdale every week day, dusted off my keener tendencies, and came out of it all with a good enough portfolio to land me a junior dev job at a small agency.

A developer's job is never done

Fresh out of school, I quickly learned that there's always something new to learn. I'd barely touched any JavaScript, didn't know how to build a WordPress theme, and there were rumblings of this thing called Responsive Web Design. Luckily, I get bored incredibly easily and web developers love to share what they know. Through countless blog posts, books, tutorials and Stack Overflow threads, I taught myself new skills and pushed myself to keep up with this rapidly evolving industry. I made mistakes, felt in over my head at times, but gradually built up a working knowledge of the bleeding edge of web dev. And I still don't know it all, and probably never will! But the community will always be there to help me learn more and help collectively advance our industry.

Pay it forward

When I first heard about Ladies Learning Code, I could totally get behind their mission of getting of helping women learn to code. I had long ago gotten used to being a lone lady‑wolf (Hello, physics lectures!), but knew that other women often found it difficult to break into the tech world. Plus, mentoring at an LLC workshop would be a perfect way to pay forward the knowledge sharing that had helped me so much.

I volunteer mentored my first workshop, a mother-daughter HTML & CSS hack day, in May 2012 and found it to be incredibly rewarding. Like working out a tough bit of code, it can be frustrating at times, but the payoff is always worth it. Seeing your students "get-it" feels good. Knowing that I've helped someone feels even better.

Since then, I've mentored at several more workshops, and had the opportunity to lead the JavaScript workshop this May. It's reinforced my own knowledge, made me a more confident speaker, and remains a fulfilling experience.

The model is broken, but we can fix it

While I was certainly able get by through self-teaching, I still wish I hadn't paid someone to teach me Flash while was on its last breaths. In many industries, innovation is bred within academic institutions, but in ours, it tends to happen at ground level and it happens rapidly. Traditional tech education juts doesn't quite cut it here. Thankfully, LLC and its sister company, HackerYou, are making tremendous progress in changing that education model by providing relevant content taught by industry professionals.

Today, I am happy to announce that I'll be joining HackerYou as a developer and instructor for a new full-time front-end development bootcamp program. I'm extremely excited to be part of HackerYou's latest innovation in tech education, and thrilled that I'll have a hand in helping the Toronto tech community grow.

The bootcamp course will being in January 2014 and cover everything you'll need to know to become a successful freelance web developer: HTML5, CSS3, Design Theory, Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, jQuery, WordPress, and freelance business skills.

I'll also be working on developing the course content, and will continue to teach and mentor with Ladies Learning Code, Girls Learning Code, and Kids Learning Code. In addition to my teaching duties, I'll be working on open source and internal web development projects. After all, there's always something more for me to learn.

For those interested in attending the new course, sign up details will be coming soon! can be found here.

For any fellow developers who may now feel inspired to teach, get on the Ladies Learning Code developers list to be notified about volunteer mentorship opportunities. I promise you'll leave feeling all warm and fuzzy, and you just might run into yours truly.