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Friday, June 27, 2014

The top 10 computer, web and tech classes in Toronto

computer classes torontoComputer and tech classes in Toronto make it possible to learn to build fun, magical websites, edit the photobomber out of or into your wedding album, and chase that decade-long dream of becoming the next big startup founder. From free coding workshops to hardcore web development bootcamps to continuing education classes, there are plenty of ways for beginners to pick up new computer skills and hack their own education without going at it alone.

Here are my picks for the top 10 places to take computer, web and tech classes in Toronto.

Ladies Learning Code

As the name suggests, it's ladies first (but guys are welcomed too) at this non-profit run by women. More than 5,000 adults in Toronto have attended one-day workshops on everything from web design and development to photo editing and creative visualization, rolled out four times a month with additional classes geared at youth. A catered lunch makes long hours sitting in front of a laptop trying to tackle HTML & CSS, JavaScript or Ruby on Rails less painful. Located on Queen Street West, LLC's headquarters also houses a makerspace with an open device lab.

From $50/workshop.

Camp Tech

Camp Tech is the best bet for bloggers, marketers and small business people who want to pick up web skills but don't have formal training or a desire to go pro. Three-hour evening classes on Wordpress, Photoshop, SEO, Google Analytics, social media, email marketing and the business of blogging run at least once every 6-8 weeks. Despite the name, Camp Tech is less like camp and more like a casual professional development workshop hosted by a colleague giving practical advice on your projects.

From $65/workshop. No classes in July and August.


Sharing the same digs as Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou offers part-time evening courses on HTML & CSS, responsive design & advanced CSS, applied visual design and more. A full-time, nine-week web development bootcamp has students producing projects like random generator websites while learning HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, JavaScript and Wordpress. Similar to a university, there's an application, admission process and tuition. Fortunately, there are no grades and you're working towards building your own business as a freelance front-end developer.

Tuition for full-time bootcamp is $6,500. Application and interview required. Part-time courses from $1,600. Workshops available. Fees vary.

Bitmaker Labs

Staying true to startup success stories, Bitmaker launched quickly, generated a ton of buzz, was almost shut down by the government for not being an accredited training institution, and grew to become one of the largest coding schools in Canada of its kind. Proudly unaccredited, with a mission "to disrupt education and promote programming literacy", Bitmaker runs a challenging yet reputable nine-week, full-time web development bootcamp where students learn to code and code and code for days, and build web apps like a pro. Creative types wanting something more visual may opt for the 12-week, full-time program on user experience and interface design. People who can't quit their day jobs can apply to the part-time evening courses.

Tuition for full-time programs are $7,500-$9,000 which include weekly yoga classes and field trips to startups. Application and interview required. All women enrolled receive a $500 scholarship. Part-time courses from $1,500, workshops $600.


Entrepreneurs, working professionals and mobile enthusiasts can head to BrainStation, the newest coding school that teaches 12-week, part-time evening courses on iOS development, web development and Ruby on Rails. Soon after you find yourself wondering what Swift is, you'll be building an app to submit to the Apple store. Bootcamps are taught in different workspaces in the city, including Extreme Startups and Project: OWL. Absolute beginners can head to the free three-hour intro workshops held every month, which are open to the public.

Tuition starts at $2,500. Application and interview required. All women and former members of the Canadian Forces enrolled receive a $500 scholarship.

Toronto Public Library

With the opening of the Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library and the new Fort York branch this year, came a variety of free, all-ages programs covering all things digital. Sign up for intro classes on 3D design, HTML & CSS, web design, video and image editing, Arduino and more. In search of Apple computers with expensive software? How about 3D printers with not-so-expensive printing costs? Book them ahead of time with your library card or borrow devices like tablets, laptops, cameras and even a DJ mixing console for in-house use at TRL.

All classes are free.


Here's one for the under-18 set: The Toronto chapter of CoderDojo, a global movement aimed at empowering young people with computer skills, runs free monthly workshops led by volunteers for youth aged 10-17 getting their first taste of coding, gaming, podcasting and other adorably nerdy topics. Students will need to bring along a laptop to moonlight as computer whizzes on GitHub, the playground of choice for software developers. Parents - tech savvy or not - must come to at least one of the classes too, which are hosted at Bitmaker Labs.

All classes are free. TTC tokens provided.


This non-profit organizes meetups, events, workshops and a reoccurring 10-week Web Master Series. Grab a bite to eat at the St. Lawrence Market before attending the weekend sessions on web fundamentals covering topics such as HTML & CSS, JavaScript and content management systems. Bring your own gadgets to PWYC workshops designed specially for Android fans, gamers and anyone excited about technology.

Suggested donation of $99 for 5 sessions of the Web Master Series with PWYC options.

Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

Maybe you need to go back to school to get a certificate program from a traditional educational institution that grades you. Humber's School of Media Studies & Information Technology has a number of programs in web design and development, computer programming, information technology, 3D design and database administration. Classes are available on buzzy topics like Big Data and open source programming, while lessons on producing digital media and using creative software make up are the majority of courses.

Tuition varies. Pre-requisites may be required.

Ryerson University

It's not all about websites and apps. For people hoping to fill in gaps in technical training, the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education offers formal computer science and IT classes on computer and network support, information management, databases, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other non-creative topics, in addition to web design and development. Visit Ryerson's Digital Media Zone to see what startups are being incubated and feel like you're part of the local tech scene.

Fees vary. Pre-requisites may be required.

Did I miss any? Leave your picks for notable Toronto computer, web and tech classes in the comments.

Writing by Mimi Szeto. Photo by Pam Lau courtesy Ladies Learning Code.

by Staff via blogTO

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