Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Where to start with coding

This time last year I was very new to tech. Fast forward to now and I’m about a month into my first job in tech and absolutely loving it!

I get asked a lot about where to start with coding. For many, computer programming carries a veil of mystery and in some cases intimidation. If, like me, you are interested in coding but feel like it’s all very alien to you, here’s are a few tips.

Jump straight in.

After extensive googling I found multiple free online courses and tried most of them.

The Codecademy courses are a great place to start. They are all free and offer a lot of flexibility in what you study. My suggestion would be to start out with their HTML and CSS course. After that JavaScript is a good next step but some people might prefer Python or you could even learn to program Alexa apps! The best advice is to go with what interests you as naturally that will offer you the best chance of success. If you don’t enjoy it, give it a bit longer but don’t be afraid to try something else.

I also have to mention the General Assembly online tutorials as I am an alumna after all!

If online courses aren’t your thing why not try a video course. There are plenty on Udemy. I am currently working on this course on JavaScript but there are plenty on other topics. Egghead is also great for coding courses.

If you are really serious about making coding your career, why not take a course. This can range from a bootcamp such as General Assembly or you can take a more intense course online with most of the bootcamps and also Codecademy. The bootcamp academies also often offer free events and shorter weekend courses so have a Google to see what interests you in your area. Meetup groups also often offer free workshops where you can learn loads for free!

Go to Meetups.

You will meet people and listen to talks and will help you decide if you’re interested.

Don’t be scared! The first time I went to a coding meetup I stayed outside the building for half an hour on the phone to my mum only dashing in as the talks were about to start! Not only did I miss the pizza (coding meetups ALWAYS have free food!) but also a great opportunity to learn from other people. At meetups since I have found the industry to be so friendly and welcoming. Honestly, most meetup attendees are delightfully far from the nerdy social recluse that you might have in your mind. I was overwhelmed by how happy people were to chat with me, share their experiences and advice and even meet for coffee with me. It’s partly the support that I had when starting out that has made me so keen to be as supportive as I can of newbies to the industry. And so the circle goes round and round.

As well as networking, meetups offer the opportunity to learn from experts that are mostly passionate about their field and also less senior coders who can share their opinions and experience. There are often opportunities to learn new skills through workshops and seminars. It’s a great space to see whether you will like a particular topic and to be introduced to new ones.

My favourite meet ups are Women Who Code, West London Coders and Codebar, but there are 100s of options so go to one that piques your interest.

Read Newsletters

These are great for giving you an overview of what’s going on in the industry. I found them particularly useful for job interviews but also they give you a feel for if you will be interested to work within the industry. They cover topics that you may well enjoy as a career. I really like and but it’s worth trying a few to find the topics and style that you like. Personally I like CSS Tricks (which is also my go-to for CSS help), JavaScript Weekly and Sidebar (which is more UX focussed but still interesting).

There are of course also books, podcasts and audiobooks that will also help you. I’ve been recommended “Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” by “Uncle Bob” as he seems to be called! Although I don’t recommend this for absolute beginners. “Pursuit Podcast” has been another recommendation by people I have met in the industry — it’s particularly useful for people wanting to get into tech without a traditional Computer Science background. Why not use book/podcast recommendations as an ice breaker when you talk to people at networking events.

I really hope this has been useful and if you have any questions or want to discuss this further please do drop me a message.