Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

A Marketeer’s Coding Journey

Why having the ability to code is imperative to my success as a marketeer.

I’m a 23-year-old Ecuadorian. I graduated eight months ago from the University of Melbourne in Australia with majors in economics and marketing.

I have never been into computers, ever. I have only used computers to play games, do homework, and check social media, but that was the extent of it.

Until a year ago I thought that the computer case was called a CPU, I had no idea a CPU was this tiny electronic chip within the computer case. Maths, on the other hand, is something I have always loved, which came in handy when taking my economics subjects.

When did I become interested in programming?

It was in my third year of uni, when doing my econometrics subject that I was introduced to R, which is this amazing programming language. With R you can crunch data easily for statistical analysis projects. I learnt the basics during my 1-hour weekly labs. I really enjoyed typing things and seeing the results pop up like magic, so I spent some time playing with it at home in my free time.

Want to know if there’s a correlation between the price and the number of bedrooms in a house? Want to forecast what’s going to happen in the national economy based on historical data? R can do it all and more. I thank R for showing me how awesome and helpful programming can be.

However, in my last semester of uni I didn’t have to use R at all and I completely neglected programming for around 6 months. I graduated and landed the amazing opportunity to do a marketing internship at A Cloud Guru. I had the chance to work with Sam Kroonenburg, Pete Sbarski and the Melbourne team for 3 weeks before I moved back to Ecuador.

I had so much fun learning how their platform works, listening to them talk about programming and serverless architectures. In the process I became familiar with technologies like Lambda, DynamoDB and AWS.

My interest for programming grew more and more so I decided to finally do something about it, and that’s when I discovered freeCodeCamp and Code Academy.

I wondered, as a marketing graduate is it really worth spending my time learning to program? I didn’t think so a few months ago. My university syllabus didn’t include any coding subjects, so I figured, why would I waste my time learning to code when I could be learning other things more relevant to my career?

Until I started at A Cloud Guru, I had no idea what HTML, CSS or JavaScript were. I honestly thought that Java was just a shortened name for JavaScript. Oh, how mistaken I was with that one. However, as I gained more experience within A Cloud Guru and my role changed from marketing intern to junior marketing analyst I realised that learning programming was going to be an essential part of my professional development.

Programming can be used to automate marketing processes and operations. Programming underpins all the marketing tools I use on a daily basis. There are a huge variety of apps that help marketeers do things quicker and can improve customer experience, but most of the time choosing the right tool and setting it up requires dev involvement.

As a marketeer in a startup, knowing and understanding the basics behind SEO and landing pages is extremely important. I have come to understand that the more general and broad my knowledge and skills are, the better. I realised that even a basic understanding of what coding is could give me a huge advantage in my role and could save me (and my peers) so much time.

Learning to program has slowly opened so many doors that were invisible to my marketing-theory focused mind. Programming is all around us, programming helps us understand our customers, our target audience. As a marketing analyst who is trying to process huge amounts of data, learning how to code can immediately be useful.

I recently learnt about many human enterprises like Women Who Code, Code Like a Girl and Laboratoria, who inspired me even more to follow this learning path.

In Latin-America, the number of women who study STEM fields is extremely small and females face gender discrimination as they do all over the world, if not more. Learning to program is not only important for marketeers. Learning to code empowers people and it is a critical skill even in traditional fields.

I am extremely lucky to be part of the A Cloud Guru family and have a group of amazing people who mentor me, inspire me and support me through this process. Learning how to code nowadays is easier than ever with so many amazing free sources. It’s not necessary to become a full-time developer to add programming to your day-to-day tasks.

I am currently enrolled in Free Code Camp to get my full-stack developer certificate and learning R and data visualisation with Data Camp. I’m also building my first Alexa Skill with Ryan Kroonenburg’s Alexa course.

Every girl deserves to take part in creating the technology that will change our world, and change who runs it — Malala Yousafzai

Don’t let the status quo of the IT industry stop you from learning to code. Become the creator of what you want to see in the world. It is never too late to learn to program.