Claire planning her coding project

How I learned more about coding in 7 weeks than in the last 10 years

After enrolling on our Intro to Programming evening class, Claire discovered a love for coding that had eluded her for over a decade.

Coding and I have had a long relationship of almost being friends. Back when I dialed up the internet and was a gangly teenager I started dabbling with Javascript, but upon discovering beer and clubbing, coding got parked.

Fifteen years later and now decidedly over beer and clubs, I’ve been working in digital marketing and communications for a decade and am still interested in coding.

Over the years I’ve attended a couple of Ruby day workshops and tinkered with Codecademy, but when I heard about CodeClan and its range of courses, from Intro to Programming through to a 16-week intensive course, my interest was properly piqued.

Having worked extensively with social media, websites and digital tools, I really want to broaden my professional skillset, so with that in mind I decided to enroll with CodeClan on the 10-week Intro to Programming evening class.

Back to the classroom

Intro to Programming class

I’ve spent my life thinking you need to be good at maths to be a good coder, and as mathematics was my arch nemesis at school I’ve been concerned for a long time that I’d struggle.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I started the course, it’s that code and maths are totally different. I’d encourage anyone that’s rubbish at maths but has an inquisitive mind to do the Intro course.

I actually think that coding would work for people that enjoy writing and language; you learn alphabet and grammar, and then go on to write.

There’s no single way to do something with code, just like there’s no single way to write a meaningful sentence. If you are creative, like the idea of building things and love solving puzzles then it will be right up your street.

The Intro course structure is a good fit for folk that are stretched for time. The evening class is just under three hours long, and each week covers a different fundamental element of programming syntax.

The class has two tutors supporting students. We’re learning Ruby, which is good for beginners because it’s flexible and accessible. Every week we are given homework to tackle, which helps cement all the learning from the class.

Learning the essentials

Zsolt teaching the class

The course has taken us through Git and Github, Unix basics with the Mac terminal, variables, classes, methods, functions, test driven development (TDD), conditionals, arrays, hashes and loops. If that means nothing to you, don’t fear, because it meant nothing to me seven weeks’ ago either.

We’re now putting all these fundamentals together, and are learning how to manipulate and use data as part of a bigger project.

I’m taken with programming. I’m really enjoying the problem solving element and logical way of thinking. So far, I love using what I’ve learned to simplify processes and solve puzzles.

The class moves quickly each week and, like anything, if you don’t practice you won’t get better, so I’m spending about a half hour most evenings trying to solve puzzles or write things from scratch to learn and improve.

Since starting the course I’ve learned more about coding in seven weeks than I have managed solo in ten years. The class keeps me focused and building upon each week’s topics means that I am able to practically apply what I learn.

For example, the other week I was trying to figure out quantities of materials needed for various marketing packs, and realised that writing a simple program would give me answers far quicker than jabbing away at a calculator dozens of times or faffing about with an Excel formula.

Continuing with coding

Claire in coding class

As for the future, I’m definitely keen to continue with coding. I have realised that programming is something that you will always learn – I’m sure seasoned developers will still be encountering new things all the time, and this is something I find really appealing.

The CodeClan 16-week course is a big commitment and would be a game changer if you want to change careers.

While I’m interested in this, I’m enjoying learning how to code in a way that fits into my work and lifestyle, so I think that the next step could be the Intro to Front-End Web Development evening class.

If nothing else, I am delighted that I now have a fundamental understanding of coding and can build simple programs to help make my working life easier and more productive. Code and I are now definitely friends.

Find out more about our Intro to Programming course.


5 reasons Intro to Programming could be for you

Why your current skills make you perfect for coding

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