30 Before 30: Ladies Learning Code

I knew right away that Ladies Learning Code would be the perfect way to knock #19 off my 30 Before 30 list: take a class that contributes nothing to my higher learning. 

I love learning, just not higher learning. Classrooms and assignments and tests – I’ll pass (in that I don’t want to do it, not in that I’ll do it and rock that shit.) Perhaps I’m too practical for theory, but if I’m learning something, I want it to be something useful. Learn to do by doing and all that.

So early yesterday morning, I made my way to Edmonton with my  friend Lindsay to join over 500 women across Canada for National Learn to Code Day, where we would all be learning the ins and outs of HTML and CSS in order to build our very own websites.

We started out with an unformatted line of text on a plain white screen, and by the end of the day, we ended up with some version of this:

project_screenshot

Seriously, my website looked like that. And it was functional. And I coded it with my own two hands.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of satisfaction you get from refreshing your web browser and seeing that the changes you made to nearly incomprehensible code did just what you wanted them to. (It feels even better when you make a mistake and through your mad coding skills – or sheer dumb luck, in my case – figure out how to fix it.)

We started out as absolute beginners and learned enough over the course of a day to build a web-worthy site.

I think that really speaks to the message that the mentors imparted when they were asked what brought them to volunteer with LLC: anyone can learn to code. It’s not something you’re born with; it’s something you can easily learn, and in a relatively short period of time.

LLC created a safe space to learn, where making mistakes was not only allowed but actively encouraged. Mentors – all web development pros – were always nearby to answer every silly question we asked and to solve every silly problem we had. The instructor walked us through every step and made sure we understood what we needed to do before she moved on to something more complex.

Through the course of the day, we learned how to give our site structure through HTML and how to dress it up through CSS. We learned how to center text, change fonts, make pictures circular, add different backgrounds to different sections, create a fixed background image, and create a static menu that linked to each section.

More importantly, we learned we could, indeed, learn to code – and that we could have fun while doing it.

Special shout-out to my friend Bree, Edmonton Chapter Lead for Ladies Learning Code, for coordinating an awesome day of learning (and for giving me a great big hug when she first saw me); to our fantastic mentor Jeff, who gave us just so much help along the way; to instructor extraordinaire Tammy Lee, who taught us everything we now know (including that there is a Lorem Ipsum generator for everything, even Doctor Who); and to my date for the day Lindsay, who will now be starting a career making cheese and cheese-related websites.    

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2 thoughts on “30 Before 30: Ladies Learning Code

  1. Pingback: National Learn to Code Day! # Ladies Learning Code

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