As I’ve said a few times before, I really like Ladies Learning Code.
Saturday morning I joined a packed room of coders-in-training for Hack Day, the first event of its kind by Ladies Learning Code. Rather than a structured workshop on a specific code or program, Hack Day was an opportunity for anyone to bring in their project and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge of tech/coding/hacking mentors. Before my first Ladies Learning Code workshop, I knew only the most basic of HTML (literally: <i>, <b>, and <br>), and less than a year afterwards, I was signing up for a Hack Day.
Throughout the day a hundred of us with different coding levels came to learn new tricks, set up websites, tackle specific coding issues, master WordPress and MailChimp, and anything else we needed to work on. The mentors, tech experts who volunteer their time and know-how were at hand to guide and help us in our work. With one mentor for every two Hack Day attendees, there was plenty of help to go around.
Hack Day marked my third Ladies Learning Code workshop, and I’m mulling over becoming a mentor myself (for Photoshop or Illustrator though, not coding – still status:grasshopper when it comes to coding!).
What really sets Ladies Learning Code apart is its Choose-Your-Own-Adventure structure. You’ve given the tools and the guidance on how to use them, but at the end of each workshop you leave with something different from everyone else in the room, based on your skill sets and interests.
Thanks to the mentors and Hack Day I was able to really clean up my code and finalize the absolute best website I could create. It’s incredible empowering to start with a blank page and code from scratch (no templates here!) an entire website. The mentors even helped me get my head around some jQuery and lightbox functionality!
This is almost too broad a statement to put to type, but tech skills are important to have, and will only become more so in the future. I strongly encourage you to see if there are any Ladies Learning Code sessions that interest you. Chat a big with them on Twitter or Facebook, because their wonderful staff are happy to answer your questions.
And, yes, regardless of the name, men are welcome too. At all the sessions I’ve attended many of the mentors have been men, and there have been men who’ve come to learn. Ladies Learning Code is about creating a welcoming and empowering environment where you can learn new skills at your own pace and comfort level. And they succeed.
Being able to create my own website from scratch, and put to use some pretty neat coding tricks, is such an accomplishment. As my freelance design work has been taking off, I’ve realized I need to have a professional web presence. I wanted complete ownership over the design, and needed to be able to update the content on a whim. I think I’ve come up with something pretty gosh darn slick and snazzy, and would love your input:
Why see just a screenshot when you can enjoy my handcrafted website in its full glory here!
What do you think about the importance of tech skills in the job market? What’s your experience with coding? Have I convinced you to sign up for a Ladies Learning Code workshop?