Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Coding Fascination

Computers and the internet have forever been a total black box for me. Other than getting upset about why some programs would run too slow, or trying to figure out how to format the text of my blog posts by clicking repeatedly on the corresponding buttons of the blog-post-writing interface, I never really found it necessary to consider the workings of my everyday laptop activities, and coding - in my mind - was something only super intelligent and super nerdy programming geeks did. How prejudicial of me. Thankfully, Hillary supplied me with inspiration to keep my brain engaged post-graduation, and one point on this awesome list of free classes (gasp!) was a link to Codecademy, specifically their Code Year track.

I have probably been gushing to too many people already about what a revelation this was, but the fact that 4 months later I am still doing my little coding exercises and talking about Java and html is proof enough how fun and motivating, as well as empowering, learning how to code is. The Code Year Track is split up in different sections that will walk you through basic Javascript, HTML, CSS and more - bringing you upto speed on constructing small programs to making your first website all by yourself - and best of all have countless exercises that give you practical experience as well as fun motivation (plus you can compete with your friends for badges and awards! #nerd). All of a sudden, computers and programs have ceased to be the equivalent to sorcery to me and more similar to an advanced math class - I'm not quite there yet to fully comprehend everything, but well on my way.

Looking at the html version of my blog, and actually being able to understand at least half of what it all means, is extremely gratifying (practical example: by going into the html, in this post I finally managed to get my images to the exact size I needed them! and justify the middle paragraph! mini-win times two!), and I would definitely suggest to everybody to dabble at least a bit in coding if only to crack open that black box like I did. And if you are at McGill next semester, make sure to consider AltU which offers student-teaching-students coding classes - I had a fabulous time this summer with our awesome teacher George who will teach another Java class this Fall!

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