My name is Yinka Adesesan and I recently started learning how to code.
Before now I have been a designer focused only on designing for the visual aspects of the web, using tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop (sometimes even Fireworks) but had never taken the time to peek behind the visuals and learn what actually makes websites (and the internet) work, even though the interest has always been there.
At the beginning of last year I made a conscious decision to learn code and to start coding. This decision placed me on this path on which I have met self discovery, frustration, unimaginable satisfaction and great insight. I have also met incredible people (who were always willing to share their knowledge), and awesome resources for learning. More on that below.
Now here are six things learning how to code taught me:
1. Greater world view: Learning to code opened a door that enabled me to peel back the skin of the internet and look behind the scenes to not only see what is driving it, but to be able control it. It’s exactly how Neo (in Matrix) must have felt when he resurrected, to the dismay of agent smith, and was able to see the code of the matrix. My eyes opened to all the possibilities, the solutions, the sheer power that the internet has and how i can use it to actually make a change big enough to be global.
2. Discipline and Perseverance:
3. Critical Thinking: Coding is a logical endeavor, with abstract concepts, a fixed structure, and very dynamic problems that require that observation, analysis, evaluation and other critical thinking skills to be able to solve. As I learned to code, I began to notice a more ‘critical’ approach to everything, and this made me much more practical and productive.
4. The importance of changing perspectives: As someone whose design origin is in visual design, there is that bias towards everything aesthetic which results in a rather skewed approach to web design that is not the most efficient. And so you find good looking websites that do not function properly. Learning how to code made me a better visual designer because, most times, especially in web design, the form follows the function.
5. All things are possible: If you find something impossible to accomplish then you just haven’t learned enough to accomplish it. Coding made me realize that there is always a solution, you just have to open your mind, change your perspective and increase your knowledge.
6. Life is simple: I have come to learn that the best code, most times, is the simplest code. And Life is like code, the simpler it is, the better.
Disclaimer: The coding I refer to, is mostly coding for the web. Anything above that is beyond my scope.
P.S. One of the easiest resources on learning code, in my opinion, is Codecademy (www.codecademy.com). It employs a simple step by step practical approach to learning code that reduces the initial frustrations code learners might experience. At least it did for me.