laptop displaying planets webpage

Learning to code (I): Overcoming my fear

When you think of coding what comes to your mind?

Is it a laptop screen filled with intimidating lines of numbers and letters trailing after each other, a bit like the Matrix? This is what I, and I’m sure lots of other people, have in their heads as ‘coding’. I developed a fear for it. I mean after all, coding is just for those selected ‘genius techies’, right?

Definitely not! A few weeks ago, I joined 23 Code Street’s Web Development Foundation course – as the marketing manager, I felt it only right that I learn ASAP. All of the team have to do the course at some point! During my first two lessons my fears quickly disappeared while I was busy building my first webpage.

Technology is a huge part of our lives and coding is an in demand skill which none of us should be afraid of.

I am early on in my journey in the coding world and these are my initial takeaways.

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1. “There’s too much maths and numbers involved for me to understand”

You might think that coding involves lots of number crunching as this is what computers do. Growing up, I struggled with maths and I can’t remember the last time I worked out an equation. So I completely understand why this might scare you.

Emma Mulqueeny of Young Rewired State puts it perfectly:
“It depends what you want to do. To develop websites and apps, you need only elementary maths skills. The maths you learn in primary school will see you through nicely. Thinking logically and conceptually is far more important.”

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2. “Isn’t it more of a guy’s thing?”

Absolutely not. Developers and programmers are often shown as a bunch of young guys in hoodies behind computer screens, but the first programmers were actually women. Many of whom achieved incredible things and changed the history of technology.

For example, Katherine Johnson was a NASA research mathematician whose orbital calculations were vital in the success of the first manned space flights. Even after computers took over the crunching, astronauts asked Katherine to hand check trajectories before starting their flight. Katherine’s story is highlighted in Hidden Figures– a film that definitely left me feeling inspired.
Today, the numbers show that there are more women learning to code and female programmers are continuing to smash it- check out this list of modern STEM heroes.

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3. “I know nothing about tech so I won’t be able to do it”

Regardless of how much actual tech you use, you already know how to think like a computer.

What instructions would you write down on how to make a cup of tea? It’ll probably look like something like this:

1) Fill up a kettle with water and boil
2) Put tea bag in mug
3) Pour boiled water in mug
and so on and so forth.

Essentially, coding is a set of rules or instructions. We’re telling a computer to carry out actions in some kind of order and making checks along the way to make sure it works. I actually did this activity in my first lesson, and we used each other’s instructions to make a cup of tea and test if anything needed to be added.

When learning about something new, it’s natural to panic and think ‘I can’t do this!” – I know I’m prone to doing this- but once you break it down and starting learning different topics each week, you realise you can do this and you’re actually pretty good at it.

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4. “Can I actually have a career in coding?”

Yes. This report found there are over 7 million jobs which require coding skills. Programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average.

Coding can lead to lots of different career paths; our graduates have gone on to work as developers or to use code to enhance and upskill their professions. I’m planning to use my coding skills to help me understand the technical aspects of my marketing job a lot more and create my own personal blog.

Hopefully, this has helped you see that you can overcome some of your fears. If I can, you can!

If you’ve got any more questions about coding or our course just get in touch with us here.

 

Serena is the Marketing Manager at 23 Code Street, this is the first blog in her “Learning to code’ series. Follow Serena to keep up to date with all her posts.