Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Embrace the Fear of Coding - Part 1

I am not a coder, and I didn't study computer science at university. In fact I studied Interior Design and my creative skills are useful in many areas of my life.

I am also a mum of three boys and chose to be at home with my kids over pursuing a career. Now they are all in school, I find myself with some extra time and started a business in the tech industry.

The tech industry is both creative and technical. The creative part comes naturally for me. Ideation, the design process, spatial awareness, a keen eye for graphical elements - these things are all lovely to do. However, ask me to code something (write a programme for a computer to understand) and I spiral into a mild panic.

Code Club Article

My fear was such that it took me over a year to be brave enough to volunteer to set up a Code Club at my kids' school. I've written a guest post for Code Club sharing my experience. I am learning to code by working through the activity each week before Code Club.

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.

If kids can do it, why can't I? The beauty of facing a fear sometimes lies in the fact that what you're afraid of doesn't really warrant the fear. I love this quote by Henry Ford, "One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do."

Kids today, have fantastic opportunities to learn to code, through clubs, books, games and online tools. If you're an adult who wants to learn to code, there are also some resources out there, but unless you can practice what you have learnt or have a community to support you, it can be very overwhelming. I have tried some tools aimed at adults, and found them quite dull and uninspiring.

Books for Young Kids

I wondered if I could teach myself to code, using resources that are targeted at kids. They will be fun, whimsical and I could engage my own kids in the process. I am intrigued as to how much technical knowledge I will gain and what gaps there may be in my skills. I'm not aiming to become a hardcore developer, only to be able to contribute meaningful skills that compliment my strengths.

Can I learn to code using kid's resources?

My experiment started with the launch of the school's Code Club and I was forced to learn Scratch, a graphical programming tool for young coders. I haven't even scratched the surface of what can be done with Scratch, but I am starting to get my head around the platform and coding elements. Soon we'll be moving onto html and CSS and a text based language called Python. (Yes, my heart is racing!)

I plan to work my way through coding books for kids, online learning tools and games aimed at teaching kids coding skills. And I will blog about my experiences in plain English here at Tech Age Kids.

Games to Learn Coding

Being a mum at home, can sometimes knock your confidence and learning a new skill can be daunting. The tech and digital media industries certainly provide mothers a fantastic opportunity to return to work, that can fit around your family.

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tammymlc said...

Just read this and realised I am following in your footsteps... (but I'm one year behind, on the other side of the world)! I'm an architect turned SAHM getting started with coding via kids' materials! (blogging at Enjoyed reading about your experience.

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