Monthly Archives: January 2013

The adventures of Alice in Coderland

So, Jeff Atwood aka ‘Coding Horror‘ told me I shouldn’t learn to code. Well, he didn’t tell me per se, but he strongly advised against it in this post about the growing trend of folks deciding to learn programming basics which may never apply to their jobs.

The man makes good points, but I decided to be defiant and go against his warnings and rebelliously attempt to learn something new.

So, you must understand that I didn’t just have one of those clarifying moments where I was like ‘Why have I never learnt to code before?!’ – there was some context here. For one, in March of last year I started my shiny new job at Mindscape – makers of .NET tools so amazing, they’ve made grown men cry (see, always the marketer).

However, apart from a brief time in my first year of university when I was supposed to learn HTML for my compulsory Info Systems paper (I had a friend help me, and by that I mean tell me all the codes I needed to make the ugliest web page known to man), when I started at Mindscape I was the biggest coding virgin you’ve ever seen.

Panic set in when I realised that I was going to be marketing something that is as foreign to me as carbs are to Ashy Bines (who, by the way I cannot stand. But that’s another rant for another day/post). I felt incredibly intimidated by the world of technology, and rife with self doubt about my abilities.

"I don't wanna wait, for this liiiiiiife to be overrr"
I felt like Dawson, after Joey chose Pacey – with a touch of the Sad Keanus.

Then one day I stumbled across Codecademy, a site for beginner coders, which teaches a whole bunch of coding languages and importantly how and why you would use them. And it’s free.

You even learn something by merely signing up:

Hi there! Let’s start by getting to know each other. What do you want to call yourself?

Type your user name with quotes around it, like this: “Ryan” and then press enter.

And that’s where I started, with “Hilary”.

Things I am nervous about:

  • I am fairly certain that I experience some extreme form of maths anxiety, because when ever more than 5 numbers are put together with any symbol that is not =, + or , my mind goes on holiday with the dancing direction bears that I imagine when someone tries to give me directions. (Seriously, does no one else experience this phenomenon? Whereby on the outside you’re smiling and nodding and saying things like “Got it, turn right at the corner of blah blah and something street”, but in your mind there’s nothing but dancing bears pointing in different directions with stop/go flags). No? Ok.
  • Jeff Atwood also told me that maths and programming do not actually have that much in common, but all I know is that I’ve witnessed some complicated symbols going on in the ‘code’ I’ve seen, and it freaks me out, almost as much as this guy:
  • The stuff of my nightmares.

    The summation symbol. I feel depressed just looking at it.

  • Honestly, I am like the tech impaired duck, only worse. I’ve never been good with computers, or any form of technology for that matter. I even have trouble turning on some televisions, and resizing an image in PhotoShop made me cry one time (OK so it was two times, but be nice to me).

Many a computer fixer man has laughed at my stupidity.

And so this is the first in my series of blog posts about my journey into the middle earth of technology. I’m doing this partly:

  • because I find it helpful for my own learning to document and record the process
  • because I’m sure there are other noobs out there just starting out and going through the same frustrations and discoveries as I am. If that’s you, help a sista out yo!
  • because I hope to  make you laugh at my tech impairment. It can be quite entertaining at the best of times.

Right, back to the world of variables and if/or statements I go. Wish me luck!

Hasta luego,

Hilary.

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