Learning to code: can you get me unstuck?

Who is going to help me out of this elaborate visual metaphor?

So, as I said in my last post, I am stuck and need some help.

I’ve just started out learning Ruby, have done the Code Academy course on Ruby and read Chris Pine’s Learn to Program.

My brother suggested a good way to learn would be to make a program that would improve my own life.

So I set about making a program that would quiz me on Portuguese verbs.

But I’m stuck.

While my brother has been helping now, his time is depleted, plus Ruby isn’t his language.

So now is the time to reach out and see who can help me in the wider world.

There is one restriction: I don’t want to leave my full-time permanent job. Maybe it’s because I’m a journalist that the mentality over the years is that a permanent contract is hard to find and I won’t be able to just leave for 12 weeks and then apply for another job. Leaving, it certainly feels, would be the end of that career forever. And I’m not ready for that yet.

So I’m looking for other places I can learn in my spare time. Places that will inspire me, and maybe find a mentor.

My first stop was to check out help available specifically for women learning to code.

I know about Rails Girls. But their yearly weekend bootcamp in London has already passed.

A friend of a friend who works in UX design told me about developher, but I’ve missed their events for the year so far too.

This Mashable article featuring seven female techies looks like it has a few more female techie events.

One of places it mentions is Code First Girls which sounded like it could be perfect — it does a course called intro to web development over 8 evenings. Only, at £665, I feel it’s a little bit pricey. I think I’ll stick to their list of places where you can teach yourself instead.

One of the many places they recommend is Code Bar. I signed up to go to their event tomorrow. Their sign in is pretty cool:

Grace Hopper was a pioneer of computer programming

They also have loads of online tutorials, including in Ruby.

AND… MOST EXCITINGLY they run workshops for women, LGBTQ people, and others under-represented in the tech industry. There is one this Wednesday and I was getting really excited at the prospect of going because it is at a language learning company Busuu, so super relevant. But ho hum, it’s full.

So I just carried on signing up for mailing lists and hopefully I won’t miss out on future opportunities.

There are loads in this list of meet ups for women in tech.

Other mailing lists I signed up for included Women Who Code — which sends out information on scholarships you can apply for. There’s a scheme in America which seems like a good idea: a fellowship for women to get them ready for bootcamp, called Hackbright Academy. Looks like I’ve missed out on applying for this year though — it’s starting in August.

Apart from that, I signed up for the newsletter for the GeekGirl Meet up. I think they may be a little advanced for me though, so I may shy away and listen to their podcast instead.

So I started looking further than women-focused events.

One of the issues I have is with getting the level right.

This list of the top ten tech conference coming up later this year looks great, but it’s for people already in the industry.

I need to get there in the first place.

There is a lot of choice when it comes to people prepared to take money to teach you to code. But for some reason this one does a free 16 week full time full stack java script course. One of the pre-requisites for the course is that you sign up for Free Code Camp. They also have meet ups at their London campus (14 Palmers Road) for everyone interested in learning web development. (Check meetup.com for an updated schedule):

  • Coding for Everyone: Monday, 6:30 PM
  • Coding for Women: every other Tuesday, 6:30 PM

Switchup has a pretty cool list of coding bootcamps.

And here’s a top tip: when I requested the matching service they sent me an email with free trials for online learning sites Udemy, Treehouse and Pluralsight. So that’s going to be my next stage for now.

It would still be nice to meet some actual people. If I’m honest, in my dreams, I would have a personal tutor every day sitting with me for two hours while I build this app. I’m not holding my breath that this will happen. So hopefully these online courses will pull me out of the mud.