Why do we want to learn to code and what can we do with it

I always like to ask two questions whatever I do, and they are:

  • Why do I do this?

  • What can I do with this?

And maybe you have the same questions about coding, let's see if I can give you a good answer here.

Why do we want to learn to code

In a time when there are so many no-code website builders, for example, Squarespace if you are building a commercial website, I built our homepage refugeescode.com with Squarespace; or Hashnode if you want a blog, this blog resources.refugeescode.com is a Hashnode blog. So why do we still want to learn to code our own websites?

It's true that there are a lot to ready-to-use products out there that would be much easier than writing code to achieve the same thing.

I use Squarespace because I want to have a website so people can come to and see what our group RefugeesCode Melbourne is about and get information about the latest events. They are some very standard requirements for a website, and Squarespace meets all of them. If I were to code my own website, it would take me much longer to make it look nice and provide the same functionalities. That's why I chose to use a website builder. It's the same with Hashnode, I needed a blog and Hashnode offers exactly what I wanted. So even I don't want to code all the time, how am I going to persuade people to come to the workshops and learn to code?

Coding is not the only means to many ends

My ultimate goal for the website/blog is to get the group running so I would much rather spend time on other aspects of organising the group than focusing on one small part. There will be a lot of similar situations you might encounter once you know how to code, it's easy to get in the weeds and be too excited about coding rather than focusing on the pig picture. I wouldn't recommend you to write code wherever you can, that's not the point of learning to code. At least not my point.

Coding is an end in itself

My point of learning to code is - it's just a fun thing to do. You might think coding is hard, but I want to change your mind about that. I think crossword and sudoku are really hard because I have no idea how it works, but I'm sure someone will argue that it is not that hard if I spend a little time to understand it. It's the same with coding, it looks hard from the outside but once you put some time into it, it becomes fun. Sometimes coding is like a puzzle like crosswords and sudoku, you have a problem and you try to solve it, and it's very rewarding once you solve it. The rest of the time, coding is like crafting like making pottery or knitting a jumper, you make something nice, except that it lives in the digital space.

Just like you don't make a ceramic bowl because you need it for dinner, and you don't knit a jumper because it's going to be cold tomorrow, you would buy them from the shops in that case. But that doesn't make activities like pottery or knitting redundant, they are still fun hobbies to have. And like the saying goes "Nothing beats a homemade bread/sauce/bowl/jumper/table/xxx" - Nothing beats some homemade code.

Coding can be a means to an end - bringing people together

Now if you agree with me that coding can be a fun thing to try out, you again face a few different options here. You can just sit on your couch and follow some youtube videos or online blogs to learn to code, or you can come to our workshops to learn with us. Why do you want to come to our workshops? Yes, you can learn coding on your own as a lot of people have already done, but here is another point of coding, or more precisely our coding workshops. We want to bring people together through code because we believe interesting things can happen when people come together. It can be isolating to be in a big city like Melbourne and even though it is an incredibly diverse place, we might not know people outside the groups we usually hang out with. So we want to offer an opportunity for everyone to come and do something you wouldn't normally do and meet some people you wouldn't normally meet. We will learn together and help each other with coding as well as whatever comes up once we meet each other.

What can we do with code

If you have done coding for a while and it is still fun for you and you decided you would like to take up coding as a career, awesome because there is a lot you can do with it. First of all, it pays well. And it's flexible, I work remotely 100% of my time now, and you can work from anywhere in the world. Last but not least, you don't need any certificate/registration as long as you demonstrate your skills and the way software engineers work all around the world are very similar, which means you can go anywhere in the world and pick it up again without much fuss.

But I don't want to talk about something that might happen in the future, people don't quit drinking or smoking because they are going to die 20 years later and we don't want to learn to code because something comes 6 or 12 months later. We want to talk about what we can do with code now, after one workshop, or three...at most ๐Ÿ˜‰.

For me, I like making random websites for my friends.

I made this for my previous housemate's birthday. It's a web page where if you click anywhere on the screen, Sam will say her catchphrase and if you press space, it will change the food that Sam is eating. Does it have any purpose? No, the whole point of this is just to make everyone laugh for 3 seconds.

And I made a kangaroo dating app for another friend because she was travelling in remote Australia at that time and complained to me that there is no one on her dating app. So I joked that she could meet some kangaroos instead and then I took the joke too seriously and build this page.

Here is another one. I wanted to make the point that the friend was using the emoji ๐Ÿ˜Š too much so I made a game to test if they can find their emoji out of all the other emojis.

Okay those might require a little bit more than HTML and CSS, but this one that I am going to show you now is super simple, I promise you can do something similar within your first workshop.

So put your creative hat on and you can make a lot more than these. And I would love to see what your ideas are.

I hope I have persuaded you a little bit that coding is a fun thing to try out. And if so, please come join our workshops ๐Ÿ˜Š