MaRS and Bitmaker Labs collaborate to bring coding and design skills workshops to entrepreneurs

MaRS and Bitmaker Labs collaborate to bring coding and design skills workshops to entrepreneurs

Bitmaker Labs and MaRS are hosting three workshops designed to help entrepreneurs learn how to code. The three workshops are happening on October 8, 13 and 22. Register for free in advance with the links below. Spots are limited. 

Understanding web development and design has become increasingly important in many aspects of business and entrepreneurship. Being able to take your ideas beyond the drawing board and having the skills to create a product of your own is vital. And so is being able to communicate the technical aspects of your product to your team in a common language.

Today marks the launch of an exciting collaboration with tech skills accelerator, Bitmaker Labs. We’re kicking things off this fall with three workshops hosted at MaRS and led by expert instructors from Bitmaker Labs on front-end web and mobile development, as well as user experience design.

Credit: Richelle Hunter Photography

We chatted with Erik Dohnberg, admissions manager at Bitmaker Labs, to learn more about the upcoming workshops.

How do participants know which workshop is right for them?

Erik Dohnberg: We’re excited to kick things off with MaRS with three of our most popular workshops. Although you don’t have to code along, we strongly encourage you to bring a laptop and program along with our instructors.

Intro to Web Development (HTML & CSS) – October 8, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

To understand how the web works, you need to start with HTML and CSS. This workshop gives you an overview and hands-on instruction in both languages. By the end, you will have made a working responsive website.

The workshop is taught by Bitmaker’s lead instructor for web development, Mina Mikhail. In addition to teaching one of our full-time courses, Mina leads Bitmaker’s instruction team that shapes our incredible alumni and powers them to succeed as web developers.

Intro to iOS Development – October 13, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. 

Everything is mobile these days. This powerful trend is just getting started and if you’re thinking of starting a new project or growing your business, you need to understand mobile.

In this workshop, you learn the ropes by creating an app yourself using Xcode. We’ll introduce you to Swift, Apple’s exciting new programming language, as well as some fundamental iOS APIs.

Kwame Bryan, Bitmaker Lab’s lead instructor for mobile development, delivers this workshop. Kwame has several years of experience building mobile applications at companies like EA and founded his own mobile development studio.

Intro to User Experience Design – October 22, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. 

This workshop starts by introducing you to key concepts and practices that are making user experience design increasingly important in today’s digital world. You will then dive into making a clickable prototype in Invision based on design objectives, research insights and design assets.

This workshop is taught by Dieter Limeback, the lead instructor of Bitmaker’s User Experience Design part-time course. Dieter is also Director of Design at Wave, a startup that is a Toronto success story, having raised nearly $35 million to date with no signs of slowing down.

How do the major topics of the workshops relate to entrepreneurship?

Erik Dohnberg: It’s hard to be an entrepreneur these days and not have at least a general familiarity and comfort level with programming and digital skills. Today’s successful entrepreneur knows how to leverage technology to enhance their product or service and better connect with their customers.

These workshops will demystify programming and make it more accessible. Whether you’re looking to build a prototype yourself or gain familiarity so you can hire the right person, you need a baseline understanding. These workshops will give you the right starting point.

They will also teach the importance of user experience design, which is increasingly gaining the recognition it deserves as a crucial component to building a successful business. Every workshop will have hands-on, experiential learning delivered by practitioners with real-life experience that you can put to use immediately in your project or venture.

What advice would you give to someone considering an introductory workshop in user experience design and web/mobile development?

Erik Dohnberg: Don’t be intimidated by code or having a lack of experience or familiarity with technology. People often have the notion that programming and digital skills are too difficult to learn and this just is not the case.

Time and again, we have seen people with little to no experience take leaps in their understanding by being open and embracing stepping outside their “technology comfort zone.” The real benefit of these workshops is often in the discussions and questions that arise from our students, so we encourage participation and questions.

After the workshop(s), what will participants be able to do with their new skills?

Erik Dohnberg: These workshops will bring you closer to the most up-to-date technology and tools being used in today’s marketplace. These skills will empower you to continue with your venture, better understand how to work with developers and a technical team, or become the springboard for your own digital education.

What other educational opportunities does Bitmaker Labs offer?

Erik Dohnberg: We offer a range of full and part-time evening courses in programming, design and digital marketing at our downtown campus in Toronto.

We’re also excited to launch a new Programming for Non Programmers weekend bootcamp on October 17. Whether you’re new to tech, transitioning from another industry, working with a technical team or interested in learning code, this bootcamp is designed to empower you with solid fundamentals.