Tag Archives: learning code

Learning Lists

Five things you should know before you learn code.

Download / By Kamil Lehmann

1-Organization

I wish I knew that there should be an organized way to approach learning code, and that learning code wasn’t just about learning in isolation—it is about building knowledge upon knowledge.

I wouldn’t have tried to learn more complex languages like Python before learning about HTML/CSS, the foundation of the web.

You should know about sites like Codeacademy which organize code learning in a structured, and fun fashion. You should know about Bentobox, something that offers you a structured plan to approach learning code.

2-Free resources

I wish I knew just how many free resources were out there to learn code. It would have helped me get a sense of what learning could be done, and where I could go.

You should take a look at things like reSRC, an online directory of free resources to learn code, and this list of 31 free resources to learn how to code.

3-Frameworks

I wish I knew that a lot of coding was built around frameworks, coding templates which set the foundation for easier coding. I wish I knew that one of the cardinal rules of coding was “Don’t Repeat Yourself”—and that means that if someone has built a solution already, go ahead and use it.

Frameworks make coding easier. They build a foundation that you can wrap around your code and play with—invaluable if you’re just beginning to learn how to code.

You should take a look at frameworks such as JQuery, which simplifies interactive elements of a website, and Bootstrap, which simplifies how you style a website.

4-Mentors

I wish I knew just how valuable it was having somebody around who knew what they were doing. When I got stuck, I finally approached some programmers I knew, and they helped me immensely.

You should look for mentors or programs like Ladies Learning Code where you are connected with some.

5-Learning by doing

I wish I knew just how much easier learning code would be if I thought about building projects, and getting my code to fit those practical applications.

Nothing beats struggling through Q and A forums like StackOverflow, looking desperately for the right answer and finding it. The learning you’ll get will flow naturally.

You should look for a great idea, and try to build something to learn code. You’ll be adding to the foundation of the Internet, while learning at the same time.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

These are the things I wish I knew about learning code before I embarked on my journey. It’s far from complete, but looking back, any one of these steps would have helped me learn faster, and would’ve gotten me to be where I want to be in the future—now.

Getting the learning right allows you to build the future you envision, giving you a voice in the participatory process that is the modern digital economy. It empowers you to build what you can: getting it right can mean the difference between the ideas you see through to fruition , to those you have seen languish behind. Don’t hesitate to start now.

 

Open Stories

How to Start Learning Code

This open story on learning code was originally posted on Code.org’s blog.

It is about Gili Rusak, a girl who developed an Android app to help younger girls learn code. If that inspires you to learn, join our mailing list of coding and entrepreneurship resources.

————————————————————————————

Earlier in her high school career, Gili developed an Android app called Codester which helps kids learn computer science. This year, the high school junior received NCWIT funding and partnered with Girls Inc. to host coding workshops for elementary- and middle-school girls!

Tell us about your app.

Codester is a level-based game app that aims to teach young students or novice programmers computational thinking and computer science concepts. I ran math outreach programs for several years and one day I thought, “why not computer science too?”

Why computer science?

The first time that I ran a prototype of my app on an actual smartphone was extremely rewarding! When you see the finished product it is sometimes easy to forget the hundreds of lines of code that go into making the app itself work. But when you develop the app yourself, you see the code and the outcome.

Programming is such a useful and empowering tool and I am so happy that I have gotten into it.

Programming is such a useful and empowering tool and I am so happy that I have gotten into it.

What is it like teaching younger girls computer science?

The younger students teach me at the same time as I teach them. I’m amazed when 7-year-olds are utilizing the app that I had made!

I found that at a young age, the gender and race barriers melt. This is a great age to engage girls and get their attention for the subject. They will grow up with the idea that computer science is for them. In my programs, the girls taught the boys, students interacted with one another, and the collaboration was excellent.

Learning with code(love)

Learning with code(love)

Do you have any advice for students who don’t know how to start learning to code?

# 1 – Start simple: take an introductory course first, either through Code.org or other courses on the Internet. Computer science is a lot of fun. It’s very rewarding to get your first program working, even if all it does is read, “Hello World!”.

# 2 – Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t fully understand.

# 3 – Know that computer science is very multidisciplinary. For example, when I first began developing Codester, I did not imagine how much art, creative thought and user consultation I would have to do. No matter what you’re into, understanding of computer science will help.

Longform Reflections

Sarah Explains Ladies Learning Code

This is a post from Sarah Cundiff. Visit her blog at http://www.sarahcundiff.com/!

At code(love), we’re all about sharing great content like this that encourages people to learn about the future, and work towards building it. Email us at info@code-love.com if you think you have content that fits that bill.

——————————————————————————

Unless you’ve been living under a stone, I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz recently about how important it is to learn how to code.  Just check out the US Bureau of Statistics info on the job outlook for software developers to see why.  There’s even a campaign in the US for all school children to learn coding called “The Hour of Code.”  I regret not pursuing computer science as a major when I was in college!  But, as I proved starting my MBA at the age of 32, it’s never too late to learn something, and, it turns out you don’t even need a “degree” to learn how to code.

Itching to learn something new, I recently signed up to take some coding workshops through a non-profit called “Ladies Learning Code.”  It’s based out of Toronto, with chapters all over Canada, and is run completely by women.  The Montreal chapter is led by Nancy Naluz.

HTML

I felt so “empowered” after the Intro to HTML & CSS workshop, where we created a simple website from scratch.

So far, I’ve taken three workshops:

  • Intro to HTML & CSS
  • Intro to JavaScript
  • Intro to Mobile Web

The courses cost about $60 each and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a Saturday.  The Montreal chapter doesn’t have a dedicated space for it’s workshops (unlike Toronto), but many different tech companies in Montreal have offered to host the workshops.  I actually found the uniqueness of each location to add to the wonderful atmosphere of each workshop. The HTML workshop was held at RPM Startup Centre in the Griffintown area of Montreal, the JavaScript workshop was held at the Microsoftoffices in downtown Montreal, and the Mobile Web workshop was held at the Busbud offices in the Mile End area of Montreal.  (Busbud is a start-up that provides an easy way to book bus travel all over the world, and won my vote for “coolest office” with it’s ping-pong table and amazing panoramic views of downtown Montreal!)

I felt so “empowered” after the Intro to HTML & CSS workshop, where we created a simple website from scratch.

What makes the Ladies Learning Code workshops so special is that they cater primarily to women (men are welcome to attend but must be accompanied by a female friend as the whole point is to introduce women to coding).  Local software developers and coding experts volunteer their time to “mentor” at the workshops.  The ratio of student to mentor I found was about 3 or 4 students per mentor.

javascript

At the Intro to JavaScript workshop, I learned how setup a website’s shopping cart.

In advance of each workshop, attendees are emailed a simple list of to-do’s to prepare, which basically consists of making sure you have the necessary free software downloaded in advance.  If for some reason you have trouble with the download, I would recommend showing up a little early and just asking one of the mentors for assistance.  Keep in mind that you need to bring your own laptop (and don’t forget your power cord!).  The workshop leader provides a very detailed package of slides that you can use to follow along with throughout the day, and keep for future reference.  One of the best parts is that you don’t have to come with any particular content – the workshop organizer provides all text and imagery for the coding exercises.  But, if you do have your own content, you’re also welcome to use it instead.

mobile

I learned how to add code to a website to make it mobile friendly at the Intro to Mobile Web workshop.

Each workshop usually starts with an intro to the software being used and an explanation of the reasoning behind the coding being taught, and then you’re led through a bunch of exercises.  At any point, you can raise your hand and a mentor will come over to help you trouble shoot.  The workshops are tailored to women who have never coded before and have just basic computer skills. But, if you’re a fast learner (like me), I found that the mentors are always willing to teach you some extra shortcuts and coding tricks here and there, while for the slower learners they’re willing to sit with you until you get it and are ready to move onto the next exercise. Basically, there’s no need to ever feel intimidated at a Ladies Learning Code workshop!

The workshops are also very social.  I met some lovely ladies at each of them, and even recognized some repeat attendees like myself, so by the third workshop I felt like I was entering a room of friends instead of strangers.  A healthy lunch is provided during the day, and plenty of time to socialize during the lunch hour.  I enjoyed getting to know some of the mentors and learning about their career paths and why they were inspired to volunteer their time.  The best was hearing some of the male mentors say that they just wish there more women were in their industry because they value women’s input and feel that the computer software and gaming industries would only be enhanced if more women learned to code!

pingpong

Showing off my ping-pong skills during the lunch break of the workshop held at Busbud.

When I left the first workshop, the word that popped into my mind to explain how I felt was “empowered!”

When I left the first workshop, the word that popped into my mind to explain how I felt was “empowered!” Not only did I learn code, a skill that I can continue to build on, but I also gained confidence.   The workshops are void of competitiveness, and are really about women coming together to support each other in a comfortable and collaborative environment, learning a topic that hardly any of us were comfortable with upon walking in the room.  Having recently finished my MBA, where only 30% of my classmates were women, the Ladies Learning Code workshops were such a breath of fresh air!If you live in Canada, check out the Ladies Learning Code website for a list of upcoming events and workshops in major cities across the country.A lot of organizations offering coding workshops I find cater to kids, but Ladies Learning Code is for adults.  I met attendees and mentors alike who ranged in age probably from 18 to 80!  I’ve heard of similar organizations in the US focusing on girls in high school.  If you know of coding workshops for adult women in the US, or other countries, please share info in the comments!  Or, if you already know how to code, why not organize an event in your area to pass it forward?  I’d be happy to help with event planning and/or with writing content to promote any women-focused coding/tech events.

ladies

A friend was so inspired by my learning to code that she joined me at my 3rd workshop. Friends learning how to code together, looking particularly “geeky” in our glasses.

Most of my career in marketing has been focused on the user-facing content side, but learning the back-side of the technology that powers digital marketing tools has given me a better understanding of the capabilities that I can then advocate for on a user interface.  It has also inspired me to focus my career on a technologically innovative industry, and perhaps even dabble in freelance website development.  If you run a small business and have an outdated website or no website at all, please feel free to contact me, and I’d be happy to offer my digital marketing consulting services and/or build you a new website.

And be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to follow along on my adventures in coding!