I never expected to write a blog post like this. A year ago, my experience with coding was limited to making words bold or italic and hyperlinking text, and whatever I remembered from a class in C++ I took in undergrad (yes, C++).
It’s not news to anyone that tech skills are increasingly important in the workplace. But I had no interest in attended a costly night course in a traditional scholarly setting.
Then I found out about Ladies Learning Code through Twitter and signed up for the HTML/CSS class. In the course of one day I went from a blank screen to an entire website. The format of the workshop, with a great ratio of mentors to students, made it very comfortable for me to learn at my own pace. Ladies Learning Code is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure – pick and choose which skills you want to learn and make it work for your own skill level.
At the end of the workshop we were even given discounts on domain names (thanks, Hover!) and hosting, which really encouraged me to create a real, live website. And I did. And it was a great experience. Thanks to the plethora of tutorials available online, I was able to take the knowledge I had gained from the HTML/CSS workshop and build on it to incorporate some pretty neat tricks. Every day I was excited to get home and code. I can’t describe the agonizing frustration I felt when an element of my website would just not behave the way I wanted it to, no matter how I played around with the code, and the mixture of bliss, relief, and giddiness when it would finally work.
Yes, coding is an incredibly rewarding emotional roller coaster some times.
Since I was hoping my website would help me build my career, particularly my freelance design work, I knew it still needed improving. Thanks to the Ladies Learning Code mobile workshop and their Hack Day, I now have a personal mobile-optimized website I coded from the ground up, that I understand completely, and that I am truly proud of.
Ladies Learning Code is incredibly empowering. I have been able to teach myself coding and created a pretty slick website (if I do say so myself). And, thanks to them, I have attended FITC and UnTether.Talks, two conferences on tech and coding. Two conferences, I should add, whose audiences were largely male. Rather than lament the lack of women in technology, Ladies Learning Code creates an environment that’s extremely welcoming to women (and men!) interested in technology and gives opportunities to interact with the tech community and industry. They are really interested in making sure their students’ experience with tech and coding is a positive and long-lasting one.
A real testament to the calibre of the Ladies Learning Code workshops, mentors, and organizing committee, is that I recently decided to throw my hat in the ring as a mentor myself. In the course of a year I have gone from someone with the most basic understanding of HTML to someone with the confidence in my skills to help new students learn some tricks.
I want to thank Ladies Learning Code for creating a stunning program of workshops. If you have any interest in learning about coding, no matter how little you know about it, Ladies Learning Code is a perfect way to build your coding skills.
A note from the Ladies Learning Code team: we’re all wrapped up now for 2012, but stay tuned – we’ll be announcing January’s workshops soon! To hear about workshops first, be sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join our mailing list. Want to mentor instead? Then our ‘tech help’ mailing list is for you!