When I was in undergrad studying math, a well-meaning friend asked me “What are you going to do with math, open a math store?” They were just trying to be light-hearted, but the jab hurt. I was studying something I loved, sometimes struggling, sometimes over-the-moon with excitement, and the application of a traditional mindset on education was deflating.
But even while I was in school, the disruption of current career paths was already underway. I quickly discovered my education gave me a huge advantage, because I could think in systems and logic – the backbone of web development. Even if I didn’t know the technology as well as our developers did, I could still have a meaningful conversation with them about the data objects, functions and outputs that would be needed for a robust system. I hadn’t been taught a job, I had been taught a way of thinking about jobs that could be applied endlessly.
This past week, I had the opportunity to network with a group of women hosted by the Rotman Commerce Women in Business program. I had some nice conversations with women from 1st to 4th year. Of course, they all wanted to ask my advice or what I wish I knew. What I told them was that they not only needed to know the topics they were studying, but they needed to learn how to think about the topics they were studying. And in this era we are calling the Digital Revolution, the fastest way to do that, is to learn how to code.