Coding is used to “create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website – they’re all made with code.” Over Memorial Day weekend, I took some time and played around with CodeCademy and taught myself coding basics.
The way I see it, knowing coding basics as a digital marketer can only help a career. For example, while working on copy or posting something on the company website, what if I noticed something small was out of place or formatted incorrectly? Well, if I didn’t know coding, then I would have to find the person who could fix it, show him the problem, and ask him to (pretty please!) fix the problem. If I did know how to code, I could fix the problem in under a minute. How long do you think the former scenario would take? I would guess more than a minute! Knowing coding will save a lot of minutes throughout a digital marketers career, and when an employer hears you can code, they will realize this, and hire you! Long story short? Learn to code!
There are three options to learn how to code. The first is to go to a university! Western Washington University offers a Computer Science major which would cost (instate) around $93,o00 total over the four years it would take to earn your degree (which includes books, tuition, fees, transportation, and even personal costs). Behind Door #2 is a coding boot camp!
Coding boot camp consists of about 3 months of intensive schooling in a non-school environment. The article I read on the subject described a basement in Boston that hosted coders-to-be. These people would be in the basement from 9am-5:30pm and then go home and do coding homework! It’s intense, but you walk away with coding skills and examples of the work you did to show potential employers. No job guaranteed, but boot camp will help you if you aren’t having any luck with a liberal arts degree, or no degree at all. Cost? Depends where you live, but around $11,000 to $18,000.
The first two options are both fairly expensive, but they certainly get the job done and look good to employers. At a university, you get a degree saying you completed the coursework, and at boot camp you get hands on experience and deliverables to show employers. Option three is teaching yourself online using Khan Academy or CodeCademy. Personally, I taught myself using CodeCademy. The benefits to CodeCademy are obvious. It is free, and super easy to use!
I spent two hours on CodeCademy prior to writing this blog to ensure that I could give an accurate review on their service. I breezed through the first hour, but then I got stuck on something that should have been easy. CodeCademy walks you though each part of learning code, and even provides help on certain sections it deems more difficult. Unfortunately for me, I got stuck on something that should have been easy: there was no help button! (I cheated a little to get out of the mess: I looked at a YouTube video, and as it turned out, my previous submission was the one that had gotten messed up. The site took it and said it was correct even though it wasn’t!)
After two hours of working I managed to get about 16% of the way through the course. A little slow, but with the frustrations mid-way through I figure it is a respectable amount completed. I am interested in finishing the course, but unfortunately, it will have to wait another night. My experience with CodeCademy was fantastic overall. I’m good with computers, but I never thought I’d be able to code (or even want to learn how!). Here I am, two hours into my Code-ucation (coding education!) and loving it. If I can do, you can.
In addition to playing around with CodeCademy, I also spent some time on Square Space designing an eCommerce webpage. I had created a website before using Weebley, and the experience was similar using Square Space. Square Space is a content management system, that I found to be more complicated to use than CodeCademy. Check out my eCommerce page I created using Square Space. (Hopefully the link works- it’s possible I need to upgrade prior to the page being public.)
What I liked about CodeCademy was the stepbystep instructions that walked me through how to make the page look good. Square Space let me do my own thing, without a walk-through. It had some examples on the page, but mostly, I had to fend for myself! Because of this, I preffered my experience with CodeCademy over Square Space.