Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

5 Lesser-Known Documentaries that Every Coder Should Watch to Channel their Inner Alchemist

You are an alchemist.

Yes, you — she who sits and makes functions by way of tapping her fingers on white keyboards.

Yes, you — he who transforms whiteboards into color-coded red, blue, and green algorithmic shrines.

Yes, even you — she who watches YouTube tutorials, then applies those lessons into her own projects adding her own spin to them.

As coders, we turn things into other things, by transforming and combining stuff. It might as well be alchemy.

In order to efficiently alchemize, we need to be in the right state of mind. Coders need to be extremely focused, yet unfocused enough for the inspiration to seep in. Coders need to be very creative yet disciplined enough to see an algorithm created through to the end. We have to be inspired enough to hold our attention for hours at a time and that motivation has to last us through all of our bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, and uncontrollable interruptions.

To achieve this magical state of mind, sometimes we just need a good ol’ Netflix documentary that reminds us how important what we’re doing really is. Here are 5 lesser-known documentaries that every coder should watch to channel their inner alchemist.

1. Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice is an award-winning documentary on climate change. To a coder, this documentary is a tale that shows the dedication and resilience necessary to create a new technology. It also shows just how impactful that new technology can be once the hard work pays off. Failing over and over is well worth it if it means there is a shot in hell of changing the world. I promise you, this beautiful doc will mesmerize you.

Watch the trailer

2. APEX: The Story of the Hypercar

APEX is a documentary that shows you what goes into creating some of the rarest, most coveted, and most expensive toys in the world — the hypercar. APEX shows what true craftsmanship looks likes and will inspire a coder to view their work as the piece of art that it is. It also shows you how competition is always a good thing and causes us to constantly strive to deliver the true value in our products.

Watch the trailer

3. The Startup Kids

The Startup Kids is a documentary about… well, kids working on web startups, of course. Ever feel like you’re under-qualified for your big web entrepreneur dreams? Ever wonder if it’s healthy how emotional your code can make you? Ever question if you are alone with the insane idea that completing your project seems to be more important than keeping up with friends and family? The Startup Kids doc is an opportunity for you to experience other big-thinking weirdoes like ourselves who have sacrificed everything to see a project through, with the hopes of making a huge impact on the social world.

Watch the trailer

4. Downloaded

Downloaded is a documentary about the rise and fall of one of the most impactful web companies of our time, Napster. Downloaded shows how there are huge implications for the things that we create, and shows us how established corporations rarely embrace change, even when presented the golden opportunity to do so. Downloaded is a great depiction of what we have come to call “the startup journey,” with its ups and downs, and shows how two “nerds” can get the attention of some of the coolest artists in the music industry by way of creating a revolutionary technology that’s just too disruptive to overlook.

Watch the trailer

5. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is a documentary about the rise and fall of The Black Panther Party. How is it that a group of blacks in the 1960’s could create a movement that is felt from coast to coast while being negatively depicted in media and hunted by the police? The revolutionaries behind the Black Panther movement knew one thing that no one saw coming at that point in time — the power of a deeply moved team. A coder will understand that powerful story-telling was the technology that is to credit for such a large group of people coming together to rock the social norm as they knew it back then.

Watch the trailer

Honorable runner-ups

6. Maddman: The Steve Madden Story

7. Sneakerheadz

8. Generation Startup

9. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

10. Banking On Bitcoin

Did I miss an awesome tech-inspiring documentary?

Tell me in the comments! I literally search hours for docs to watch and would love to check it out.



— I’m a coder, designer, and YouTuber.