10 Things I’ve Learned from Coding for 28 Days

After 28 days of learning to code, here are the 10 things I’ve learned from the experience.  Good luck to anyone else who takes this on as a goal too!

Earn Your Badge – Want to learn how to code?  Use codecademy.com.  It’s free, it’s easy, and there’s instant gratification with virtual badges as you complete every lesson.

“No one cares about the code, they just care about the output” –  A quote from my husband upon my whiny voice when I said “no one likes my blog anymore, no one wants to read about technical things or about coding.”  It’s true.  Somewhere in messy cubicles or agile seating decorated with nerf guns and trinkets…you’ll find a coder, probably a male, who spent all day solving the mystery of the missing semicolon.  He will go unrecognized.  He will nearly go cross-eyed after staring at code for hours or even days.  No one cares, except the other coders who can empathize.  People just want their website or application or next feature with no concept of the complexity behind it.

Girls Rule and Boys Drool – Only 12% of computer science graduates are girls.  There are entire programs and foundations and awesome resources specifically focused on embracing and encouraging girls to code or to become engineers.  While I could probably only spit out three or four lines of code accurately if held at gunpoint, I am a huge supporter of girls who code and couldn’t resist watching youtube videos related to the cause to keep me inspired.  A video of 12 year old girls who made a robot that would dance to Beyonce’s “single ladies” kept me going for 3-4 days on this goal.

Hold The Phone – Don’t interrupt someone while they’re coding.  Just don’t.  They’re likely annoyed in the first place cause there’s no real pay off in coding until the end…if there ever is an end, but when you interrupt them they will probably be rude, irritable, and not look up from their screen.  Don’t take it personal.

Meet Kevin Bacon – This blog, after only 2 months, has grown my 5 degrees of many people.  I’m probably only 2 moves from Kevin Bacon himself.  The topics or goals that peak interest in other people come in unexpected ways.  People who I rarely talk to on a regular basis have become an everyday part of my conversations through new experiences that have been sparked by Gals With Goals.  Stretch your skills and it will stretch your network.

Don’t Code After 9pm – If you are not a night owl, don’t even think about procrastinating coding until it’s time to go to bed.  You will become an irritable version of yourself that will even cause you to get on your own nerves.

Weekends Are For Reality TV and Yoga – Like last month’s goal, this goal wasn’t fun on the weekends.  I’ve learned from watching Chris, most coding gets done on the weekends because of the higher probability of having less interruptions, but I still feel strongly that we should all just be watching “The Real Housewives of (insert favorite city)” and doing yoga.

Throw Grammer Out The Window – If you want to be good at coding, throw everything you learned about grammer out the window.  If you want to ensure that your line of code will not work, go ahead, start your code with a capital letter like you’re typing a paragraph, or put a period at the end, or basically do anything that seemed to make sense to you for the first 32 years of your life and then wait patiently as your code gives you an error.  Coding is the weirdest thing because you have to balance between not typing a sentence correctly (as you would if you were writing a story) but you have to have an attention to detail that is another level of ridiculous.  If you misspell or leave out a > or leave out a ; or leave out a } your code will be a big fat failure.

Close The Gap – There is a giant gap between people who know how to code and people who don’t.  I think there’s a perception that there’s 2 camps of people.  Camp #1 = People who don’t know how to code who can limp along in technology with the basic understanding of their phones, computers, email, TVs, and any technological device.  Camp #2 = Young men who know how to code and know everything there is to know about technology, they’re always building things that other people don’t understand, and they can build apps on their phones and become millionaires by 35.  And no one lives in the middle.  #1’s think #2’s know things they could never learn, and #2’s speak at a technical level that scare #1’s.  We can’t escape technology so at some point we have to surrender and learn.  I may start a club for #1.5ers.

Be Curious – Find something you never thought you could do or learn or even pronounce…and then learn it.  Ask questions.  Be vulnerable.  Say you know nothing about a topic (like coding) and then google it, watch videos, find websites, sign up for tutorials, talk to people who do it, read articles.  Just learn.

echo “I did it”;