I have a lot of Lego sets, and I’m not ashamed to say I still have them tucked away in my parents’ attic awaiting the day I play with them again. I love building things. My favorite game right now is Kerbal Space Program, where you get to build all kinds of custom spacecraft and travel to distant celestial bodies. When I’m not spending time being somewhat social, I live and breathe the Internet. So much so, that it’s hard to remember my life before computers and the Internet.
I was fortunate to go to an elementary school that taught us how to use the Internet before it became common practice. And at home, my parents never shied away from providing my sisters and me access to the Internet. My love of building coupled with my love of the Internet eventually lead to my profession as a web developer. I began to dig into the construction of websites. What did “View Page Source” mean? So that’s what HTML is! What the hell is Flash, and why is it slowing my computer down? With my curiosities and passions focused on construction and the Internet, it only seemed natural that I learn code.
My current level of skill, regarding web development, came from a lot of practice. I’m predominately self-taught and have become proficient in HTML (the basic code of the Internet) and CSS (the type of code which dictates how your website looks). I know how to build websites within CMSs like WordPress and I’ve built E-commerce sites, which sell hundreds of products. Using Google, I can track how well your site is doing and how people are reaching your content. All of these skills took time to hone, yet I assure you coding is easy to learn, especially if you have similar interests.
For those of you interested, I highly recommend visiting Codecademy. Early on I had a lot of help from great teachers, but Codecademy helped further my web development skills. Codecademy offers a robust selection of free courses, covering the basics of Internet coding, as well as advanced coding. You are given the opportunity to get your hands dirty and learn from trial and error. It teaches you how the Internet is written, how to style test webpages and how to make things move and wiggle. Most importantly, it teaches you how to think in code. When you achieve this level of enlightenment you are able to solve your web development problems and how to build new and exciting things.
All of this learning is beneficial and is an outlet for creative and technical minds alike. As humans we need to be stimulated, and coding definitely offers such stimulation. Learning to code is a gateway to many creative and professional places. There are millions of opportunities to take what you’ve learned and make a good living, all while feeling accomplished. Make websites to help bolster your income, chase a full-time position at an agency, or maybe even try to find a career in Silicon Valley. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you come from, all you need is a spark of curiosity and a few hours a week to practice.