Why I learn to code while working in the fashion industry
Why learning to code when your main job is to work in fashion with fabrics, garments, shoes, bags, retail stores, shipping boxes, and so on...
If you work in the fashion industry, you can easily relate that this is not the most advanced and technology-friendly place to work at. If you don’t work within fashion, well,.. now you know.
Some supply chain stakeholders have discovered email technology only last week while most actors still don’t have a decent digital footprint. Within the actual brands, you would expect things to be a bit more developed but unless you are in the E-commerce or IT department, most people are content with the Microsoft office tools and sometimes Adobe to run their daily tasks.
I guess that this is normal. The world is running on Excel!
No one today expects you to start writing lines of codes in your 9 to 5 to get a leather jacket designed, made, and shipped from A to B.
But if you look closer… knowing how to code can help you be better at your job or life in general, including getting that leather jacket made.
Coding has been on my personal improvement to-do list for quite some time, probably for about 15 years now, actually.
I first started coding with website programming languages (HTML and CSS) about 18 years ago to create some website pages when I was in school.
At university, we had to do a project using what I think is one of the most complicated programming languages I have come across (C++)... This is when I started to doubt if I would ever get to the bottom of this coding thing and I decided that I would live very well without it.
The syntax was so complicated, the way commands were supposed to be organized and how they were called did not make any sense to me. I used a lot of copy-paste and thought that I was not made to learn to program.
Coding should be taught besides English and Geography in schools
Since coding was not the main priority of the educational system back in early 2000, I have been keeping teaching myself since then, buying books, fiddling with the system, and experimenting with things, but only scraping the surface and giving up once things were getting a bit too complex.
I am still definitely a beginner but a motivated one with some basic understanding which I am now reinforcing in order to get to the next level.
When we were kids it was all about building legos and starting with more and more technical sets as we grew up: Today I think that my lego is the code I can write and assemble lines to build things.
You could say that I can do basic front-end development (the things you see when you browse the internet), and understand somewhat some short lines of other languages (the things you don’t see), and most recently I have committed myself to learn how to code iPhone apps.
Why learning programming/coding can be useful for you?
Coding is a great way to challenge your brain with puzzles and problem solving but also in getting that self-gratification in building something that works with your bare hands… and a keyboard.
Another reason why learning coding can be very useful is for understanding better your surrounding which is constantly being taken over by computer technologies.
For me, although I am not required to write a single line of code at work, I find that my interest in programming has given me the upper hand in understanding how general software works and how things can be streamlined and simplified.
I usually see colleagues who are petrified by the idea of opening an Excel sheet, and it is somewhat gratifying to feel comfortable playing with basic tools and create ways to quicken your tasks through simple formulas and code.
Writing formulas in Excel is the best way to get that sense of achievement.
Throughout my career, I have witnessed that most people are indeed interested to learn these tricks but because of the lack of time, or confidence they tend to procrastinate learning that new skill.
I hosted an Excel class internally in one of my former position to help my direct colleagues becoming more efficient and solving problems on their own. What transpires from this was that in order for you to succeed in learning basic formulas you need to understand how your life will be changed from it and persevere in playing around with it until it sinks in.
Once you have passed the first step of becoming more comfortable with tools like Excel then you can start looking into actual programming languages.
How to get started
Everything is available on the internet these days and obviously learning coding is. The internet is made from coding!
My favorite go-to place to learn a simple new trick or to find a formula or line of code that could help me solve a problem is Google, and sometimes Youtube.
If you are taking learning coding more seriously, then the best tool to get started in a fun way is the Mimo app. If you have ever tried Duolingo to learn a language then Mimo is your go-to app to start learning the basics of programming. It comes as a paid subscription but if you are serious about starting it is very much worth the investment.
Currently, I am going through the entire ebook from Appcoda and they are making it so easy to jump into learning how to make iPhone apps. Apple is also making it easier by simplifying the complexity and making things more visual.
If you have an Ipad or a Mac then you should try the app Swift Playground. It is literally made to teach kids the basics of programming and adults can have a lot of fun using it as well. It requires no coding knowledge but I guarantee that you will be intrigued to know more about coding after fiddling around with the app.
As in learning a language, coding will require that you put a bit of effort into it and have some motivation but overall you will find it fun and easy once you realize that it makes you become a builder of solutions and will make your life more productive and efficient!