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What’s in a code?

What’s in a code? March 26, 2014Leave a comment

Geek Corner will be your online window to some of the latest trends that Digital Women UK has come across in digital media, with recommendations and suggestions. Please feel free to let us know what is floating your boat in the digital world. If you are not yet a geek about social media, we truly hope that after reading this slot you will be. This month Samantha Watson looks at code.

Is the future in coding? The British government seems to think so. Even if its launch earlier this year was given a mixed reception, its campaign Year of Code reflects a shift towards encouraging people across the country to learn computer programming.

London is now seen as the tech capital, the UK version of the infamous Silicon Valley, home to the leaders of technological developments and ideas. So we can fairly assume that the huge investment being made in teaching code is a sign of the global dominance coding skills will have in years to come.

Knowing your HTML, from your JavaScript to your CSS only scratches the surface of the endless opportunities which coding offers. Programmers use coding languages ranging from PHP, HTML, JavaScript, APIs, Python and Ruby on Rails. They are all very distinctive, but create the visual and interactive phone apps that are now commonplace on our smartphones, computers, websites and animations. These languages are not standing still but are evolving.

The language of code, once the preserve of a select group of people armed with programming knowledge, has now been given a fresh and appealing look – drawing people of all ages and backgrounds who would have never of thought they could create computer programmes.

Why all this sudden interest in code? The realisation that technology will continue to advance and dictate how we communicate in the future via websites, phones, apps and more. If you visit the Crystal Centre at the Royal Victoria Docks, you will see how the future of technology is intertwined with our daily lives. Therefore, if women want to play their part in developing and creating that change the timing couldn’t be more opportune to invest in programming skills. Tech giants and start ups regularly claim that skills in programming are, and will, continue to be highly sought after.

There was a time where coding was not seen as an attractive career, but today the energy behind making it the must have option is being thrusted upon us under the Year of Code. Women especially are being encouraged to forge careers in a male dominated profession. Maybe you have already come across a number of initiatives to encourage women to be future programmers. In the UK we have Geek Girl Meet up, Code First Girls, Women Who Code and many more.

Perhaps you’ve dabbled in HTML and want to progress your coding, or you’re interested in creating your own phone apps and don’t know where to start. If so, there are a host of interactive websites which can guide you – step by step – to do just that.

Here are a few good free code training sites to help you on your way:

The Code Academy

codeacademy - Sam's piece

The Code Academy is a pleasure to use. Step by step you learn how to make the simplest of codes with ease. There is also a community page to share your successes and challenges.

 

Code UK

codeuk - Sam's piece

Launched in the US with great success, this initiative is now in the UK ready to get everyone coding in a fun way.

 

Code Club

Sam's piece - codeclub

This national network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11 aims to give every child in the UK the chance to code.

Main photo credit: Ashley

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