My first 4 weeks learning to code

Student Spotlight| Kelly Jacobson Collins is currently taking part in our Pilot Webinar course. Below she shares what motivated her to learn to code and how she has found the beginning weeks of her course.

Kelly with her two children, Issac and Linus

When I signed up to attend the 23 Code Street breakfast event- Marketing and Tech: A force for social good- I never imagined I would be leaving signed up to take part in their pilot webinar coding course. As I’ve remarked since to friends, it was probably the most expensive breakfast I’ve ever had!
So what made me sign up? I felt enthused by Serena and Anisah’s passion for the course, I was inspired by the ethos of 23 Code Street, and I wanted to be part of the pilot. Our cohort (those of us who are part of the pilot) have different motivations for learning to code but, for me, it’s about building my confidence when talking to technical teams, trying something new, stretching myself out of my comfort zone, and seeing if I can do it.
As keen as I am to learn to code, the classroom version of the Web Development Foundation course wouldn’t have worked for me as I have a young family and, therefore, committing to attend classes two evenings a week would have been, logistically, challenging. The flexibility of the Pilot Webinar Course is appealing because much of the work can be done in my own time with support via Slack and the webinars are recorded so that I can watch them at a more convenient time if I miss a class (or watch again if I need to review the content).

Kelly and her lovely family

We are now 4 weeks into the course (a third of the way!) and I can’t believe how much we’ve learned so far. In the first week, we were given an overview of the course and the background to 23 Code Street and coding. I was hugely inspired to learn about Ada Lovelace and how she developed the very first computer language for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Machine. If you want to know more about her the New York Times wrote a posthumous obituary acknowledging that “since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of other remarkable people.”
We’ve been learning to code in Atom which is a free and open-source text editor. We write the content in HTML and then link to a CSS file, written in Atom too. Currently, we are only testing whether the code works in our Google Chrome browsers on our computers/laptops, but I know a truly web friendly site needs to work across all browsers and devices.

A snippet of Kelly’s code

For those of you who, like me 4 weeks ago, don’t have a clue what I’m writing about, a simple way to understand the difference between HTML and CSS is that the HTML is the standard markup language where we create the structure and write content, and the CSS makes the page beautiful through font, colour and positioning (well at least it does if you don’t use clashing colours and hideous font combinations, but I’m sure I’ll get there). I imagine that someone who is proficient in CSS is like a great make -up artist and can make the dullest and most tired content look beautiful and elegant.
As well as the webinars, there is also homework and projects to do but it is all a manageable amount. I’ve really enjoyed the self-teaching style of the homework and practising the code in my own time. I’m actually becoming a little obsessed with trying to get it right and can’t bear it when I can’t work out why my code won’t work!

I am very excited to see where this journey is leading me and look forward to updating you again in a couple of weeks.
Over the next two months, Kelly will be regularly guest blogging for us and sharing her coding journey. If you’re interested in studying with us, click here to find about our next online and in person courses starting next month or drop us an email on