Saturday, 1 February 2014

The importance of basic coding for all!

There has been a niggling need within the industry for the last few years for marketing folk to get involved with more of the technical side of digital, rather than sitting back and letting the real techies whizz off Javascript, CSS and HTML5 without us! There are so many tools that allow even the most computer-illiterate of marketeers to get away without any technical experience but I do feel that the emphasis is changing and that coding is now seen as an essential skill for every Tom, Dick and Harry.

When Decoded, a technology school that teaches coding, was founded in 2011 there was a little trepidation around who in the marketing sphere should be upskilling. The business has grown considerably and now has offices across the globe and claims to have transformed over 5000 people’s understanding of coding in its one day courses (£500 for a day course if you are paying direct, £900 if your company is paying).
Increasingly I have become aware of the request for at least basic coding knowledge in any digital marketing roles and a few things have happened in the last year that convinced me to start learning myself.

  1. A friend of mine in marketing recently told me that if she could return to our school careers day the one thing she would share with the girls would be “learn how to code”. She had embarked on a short coding course that certainly didn’t come cheaply but she came away knowing the basics in multiple languages and felt that it was hugely beneficial!
  2. My mother also recently found herself teaching primary school children how to use a Raspberry Pi. (The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools). I would never have referred to mum as technologically savvy (sorry mum!), actually perhaps even the opposite until recently. However, now she is making leaps and bounds with this mini-computer and helping the children to learn too.
  3. My friend’s 3 year old son directed me how to use an iPad and then proceeded to swap my phone language into Japanese... and it wasn't by accident
  4. The realisation that there will be an even greater gap between people of my generation and current primary school kids than there ever was between my generation and our parents! When I see people struggle to use mobile phones or touch type, I really thank my parents for realising that a good understanding of technology for us would be invaluable in later life. However, technology moves so fast that we have to act if we don’t want to be left behind!
These 4 events/realisations have led me to one conclusion –I need to learn to code .... well I need to learn the basics at least! So I have signed up to CodeAcademy, a free “online learning experience of the future”. Users can access thousands of free coding tasks, from the very basic to more complicated, receiving points for completing courses.

So far it is going well and it is exciting to be learning a new skill and hopefully one that I will be able to embed into my everyday activities at work.

I wrote this blog as documentation of the beginning of my journey and also to see what everyone else out there thinks about this? Can you code? Do you feel you need to be able to? Or perhaps you think it is something that is better left to the professionals.

NB: For any primary state school teachers out there, Decoded is offering 2 free places per school for teachers to come and learn how to bring code alive in the classroom -