Question: What are some successes and challenges you've experienced in this class so far?
Being part of the MotherCoder Pilot Program has been a great learning experience. Not only did I learn to write HTML and CSS, but I learned a lot of the tech industry directly from women – many of them mothers – who are changing the landscape and image of tech.
I was challenged by the technical aspects of coding and the lack of time I needed to focus on learning my new skill. But as tough as it was to learn this new skill in a matter of six weeks, I never felt like giving up thanks in part to the awesome cohort of women in the program, our talented and courageous leader Tina Lee, and the immensely knowledgeable presenters and TA's, who every week inspired me to demystify tech and envision myself playing a role in the tech industry.
Coding is so easy, even a baby can do it! Not!
I’m here to tell you, it’s not easy. It takes time, patience, practice and committing oneself to learn a new skill that is just not intuitive. Well, at least not intuitive to me.
One night, I found myself dreaming of tags -- the sections in my HTML document that define the divisions of my website: Did I design too many tags on my website? Were they the right width and height? Was I accurately floating them to the left or right?
I found myself immersed in learning HTML and CSS and it was addictive. But it was difficult. I would take two steps forward and quickly fall back three steps. However, despite my many questions and fears about learning to code, I always knew that I had the resources available to me to find the right answer.
The program made a great effort to ensure that all the moms had the resources they needed to succeed in learning our new skill. Even fellow moms share resources and tips with one another when someone or all of us got stuck in between. Giving up was not an option.
Tags, Blocks and Elements, Oh, My!
By far the greatest challenge for me has been carving out enough time during the week to code and work on my website. Balancing work and motherhood is tough enough, now add coding and website design to that and you have a recipe for code induced nightmares.
But as difficult as it was to add this new task to my already busy life, I found that I really liked to code and building my site didn’t feel like a burdensome task. I always found comfort in the fact that I was not alone. There were five other moms in the program that were going through similar struggle to learn to code, but we were all committed to the program and to learning our new skill. This fact was both reassuring and comforting and bonded the group from day one.
I now have a much greater appreciation for website development and design. Now, almost every time I visit a website, I like to view the page source of the site to read the HTML code. (Try It: right click “View Page Source”. That’s HTML!).
I have always wanted to learn a third language; I just didn’t know it would be HTML and CSS. Yes, HTML and CSS are languages! They are the essential language to building websites and making your site awesome to view. Now I’m a talented MotherCoder who has learned HTML and CSS and can apply it to my skill set as a communication specialist.
...and more code!
Until then, look out for the unveiling of my website -- coming soon!
You can find Johanna on Twitter @johannaswaki.