llcCodeDay: Recap



This past weekend I got to attend my second Ladies Learning Code event in Ottawa: National Code Day.  I was lucky enough to grab one of the sold out Mentor positions which is awesome because:

  1. I get to help people at the start of their journey to become Internet Wizards/Code Geniuses (which ever they choose), and
  2. The tech group in Ottawa is literally tripping over themselves to help people new to the trade.

I haven’t been in this industry very long, but that is the first thing I noticed about working in this new space.  The vast majority of the people I meet are eager to share what they know and are incredibly generous with their time.  It’s a good thing to because there is a lot of material to get caught up on when you first start.

I was pretty excited to teach my table of mentees their first “Internet hack” – which I hope they use for the greater good and the greatest entertainment value.


The workshop was an intro to HTML and CSS and Jess Eldredge led the group through the task of making a 3-page personal website.  I’m glad the day was focused around completing a specific task because something I’ve come to realize is that learning is easy, execution is hard.  There are a lot of online resources that can show you code and tell you how to use it.  But it’s not until you have to push an idea out from your brain and on to the screen do you actually start to understand something.

Actually, even learning is hard sometimes – but you get what I’m trying to say.

My table of mentees did an awesome job.  Once we started getting into CSS, I was impressed by how drastically different each person’s site came out.  It’s really fun to see that smile on people’s faces as they start to see their project come together.

So what’s next?

Some participants asked what they should “be doing next” to continue learning code.  Code Academy is a great free resource for starting out – but jump into the “Web Developer Skills” and “Projects” sections as soon as you have a little HTML and Javascript under your belt.  TreeHouse and Code School are two very well polished paid resources. They both are perfect examples of gamification in learning and you’ll be swimming in badges in no time.

Collecting sweet badges

Keep making things

My Internet hero, Jenn Schiffer, is a developer and has an amazing talk online from back in 2013.  You can watch the video here, but essentially she tells everyone to find those “stupid little things” you like to make and keep making them.

Jenn Schiffer, a.k.a. Jennmoneydollars, is a well-known satirist. While her writings are entertaining and thought-provoking, much of the technical advice she gives should be looked at with a skeptical eye. Exhibit A: California Style Sheets

Don’t know what to make?  Well, do you have a dog that you love? Make a fan page about him!  Is your fan site done? Do you want a bigger challenge? Learn the Twitter API on Code Academy and make it so that your site displays your dog’s daily tweets in super large font on the home page.  Done that? Please send me the link – I will instantly follow your dog on Twitter.

Photos of the day

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