Coding Leads to Empowerment!

Watching people get excited about learning is really fun. Watching them get excited about learning something you’re passionate about? Amazing. Girl Develop It San Diego just had our first couple of classes, and just seeing the students get worked up about learning to code has made all of our hard work worth it - and now we feel driven to hold as many classes as we can!

A couple weeks ago, we had our Intro to Web Concepts class - this is a really basic class for absolute beginners - covering everything from what a server is, to who invented the internet. That class was pretty well attended, and the students really enjoyed it. But where we really got a great response was our class this past weekend, Intro to HTML/CSS. We held this in two parts on Saturday and Sunday morning, and despite the early hour and the fact that Sunday was the Super Bowl (and the Puppy Bowl!), we had a completely sold-out class of 30 students! In fact, we actually increased the attendee limit because so many people wanted to come.

Students Learning at GDI San Diego

Over four and a half hours each day (with a lunch break), our instructor walked everyone through the basics of HTML and CSS. I was sitting in the back, watching and doing work, and it was sort of fun and nostalgic hearing someone explain what HTML elements are, and what a Cascading Style Sheet actually does when it “cascades.” The class was structured so that the instructor would explain a key concept, and then have the students write a little code and see what it did. I loved watching their websites develop, and how quickly they caught on and found it fun.

One of the reasons I love working with Content Management Systems like Drupal (I started years ago with WordPress) is how much they empower users. We do the hard work on the back end, and they can publish their content to the world, anytime they want. People LOVE that, and I think it’s part of what makes CMSes so popular today.

The best response to a ticket I have ever received: Empowering users

I think that teaching people how to code is similarly empowering. In just a few short hours, they found out how to create an HTML page that allows them to put their own text and images online, all by themselves. As developers, I think we sometimes forget how powerful that is. We type some stuff into a file, save it in the right place, and we can show that to the entire planet. It’s second nature to us now, but think back to the first time you made a website - it’s such an incredible feeling. You want to put everything on it and show it to everyone.

It’s also fun to de-mystify coding. So often I hear:

“I can’t understand that stuff!”

“It’s so complicated!”

“My brain doesn’t work that way!”

“I could never learn all that alphabet soup!”

Suddenly, it’s not some scary and magical thing that only the experts can do. They’re coders now, too, and proud! I hope that the excitement from this class carries over to all of our upcoming classes - this was just the very first class in our front-end development series. We’ll be doing more HTML/CSS, tons of JavaScript, Git, and more. I can’t wait to see what this group of students can achieve!