That time I went back to school to learn to code

When the Addicted website (the thing you’re reading right now) goes down, it’s always been EIC and bestie Mark Munroe to the rescue, agonizing over what’s wrong, up all night struggling with the site.  That often leaves me, as the other brain behind the brand, feeling helpless and useless.  It’s not a great feeling.  But, rather than wallow in my uselessness, I decided to do something to empower myself, with a little help from  and Canada Learning Code. 

*header photo credit Jon Lim

If you haven’t heard of either of these rad businesses, get ready to be educated. is pretty much what it sounds like: a company that helps you book things (travel things specifically).  Founded in Amsterdam in 1996, has grown into one of the biggest online travel companies in the world. Their mission is to empower users to experience the world, and to provide the tools to do so with ease. and their mobile apps function in over 40 languages and showcase nearly 30 million travel listings.  Whether you’re looking for a flight, accommodations or anything else related to an adventure abroad (wherever your version of abroad may be) make your first destination to make that adventure happen.

Canada Learning Code is also what it sounds like: a not for profit company specializing in helping Canadians learn to code.  Their mission is digital literacy education for all, especially those who are underrepresented in the field of technology, primarily women. In fact, CLC actually started out as LLC: Ladies Learning code.  Back in 2011, Melissa Sariffodeen (now CLC CEO) and her co-founders had a goal to improve gender parity in tech.  They realized that the first step to getting more women in the field was to give them the tools, the know-how and the confidence to set them up right, so they put on their very first Ladies Learning Code (LLC) workshop.

Since its inception, CLC has taught over 80,000 students of all ages and walks of life, in more than 30 cities across Canada.  They scaled the concept from Ladies Learning Code to Canada Learning code, giving them the chance to create specialized programs to help different types of people; Kids, Girls, Teens, Teachers, all learning code in a dynamic and welcoming classroom environment. Through these introductory to expert level courses, CLC arms their students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in this digitally driven world.

So what do these companies have in common?  Their incredible support of women in tech. CEO Gillian Tans strives to create opportunities for female leaders to grow and excel. The company conducted a study that showed nearly half (42%) of women working in the tech industry find that gender bias is worse than they thought it would be. So decided to do something about that.  In 2017 they created 15 technology postgraduate scholarships for the University of Oxford and the Delft University of Technology to give talented women a leg up in furthering their tech education.  On top of that, they’ve created the Technology Playmaker Awards, to recognize the accomplishments of female innovators and disruptors in the industry.

With their values aligned, and Canada Learning Code came together to sponsor a special version of their Ladies Learning Code workshop.  Students would get an amazing learning experience, as well as the chance to win a $500 travel credit and a professional one-hour mentorship session with a top female tech leader at

That was the Ladies Learning Code workshop that I attended, and it was awesome.  First of all, it was amazing to be in a classroom filled with women, learning about something that had for so long been the domain of men.  The workshop was smaller than I expected, with probably less than 20 students in the room.  There were multiple teachers, or mentors at CLC calls them, throughout the room to guide us through the class material, with one main mentor leading the workshop.  That almost one on one attention is extremely helpful, especially for a total coding noob like me who was able to ask about a million questions without disrupting the entire class flow.  Throughout the beginner level program we learned about HTML and CSS, the backbones of any website out there, and were able to design our own (fairly basic) website by the end of the 2 days of the workshop.

*credit Anthony Miao

While learning HTML and all that others stuff was great, my biggest takeaway from the course was confidence. LLC gave me the confidence and the knowledge I needed to not to be petrified of the backend of our magazine website.  I may not be able to fix something if it goes wrong (YET!) but I at least now have the knowledge and the confidence to investigate, and to try.  For me, that’s huge.  It’s also a sign that I should definitely go back to school again with Canada Learning Code to keep that knowledge growing!

If you’re interested in participating in one of Canada Learning Code’s awesome workshops, click here.  And while you’re at it, head over to to plan a vacation as a reward for all the hard work and coding learning you’ll be doing.  Click this link to get $40 your first booking.

Happy travels, and happy coding!

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly