This past weekend I stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. I decided that I was going to attend a Ladies Learning Code event. Since September 26th marked National Learn to Code Day, the Quebec City chapter chose to host their very first official workshop: an introduction to Python and coding altogether.
Now, I honestly don't know why I originally signed up. I saw the ad as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and thought it could be cool to try. I know nothing about code nor do I know anything about Python. I guess I impulsively jumped at the occasion to learn something new. When I walked into Spektrum Media's headquarters for the event, I was beginning to feel a little nervous. I was completely clueless in regards to what I was getting myself into. A real fish out of water! Perhaps, I was in over my head. --Boy was I wrong! The instructors were great, the ladies were fun, and I actually managed to understand something (or at least I think) by the end of the day. I don't think that I'll ever become a developer, but I found it interesting to understand the process.
Surprisingly, writing code and writing are quite similar. Think of code as being a language. It's basically like writing instructions for the computer program to understand and execute. You've got to break everything down step by step so that the program can pursue its operations. In order to achieve this you need to reflect, strategize, and work out the logical order of operations in a simple, clear, and concise manner to avoid any misinterpretations. In my eyes, coders have essentially mastered the art of précis writing. They avoid using any unnecessary words that could obstruct meaning, thus affect operations and potentially cause a bug. It takes a logical mindset, clear and concise linguistic skills, and a hell of a lot of determination to do this. As writers crumple draft after draft, strike through long sentences, and rewrite entire paragraphs to ensure the message is coherent, web developers do the same in their own way. However, if you ask me, developers have an even tougher task ahead of them. Not only do they have to be understood by the computer, but they also have to be understood by the users who are interacting with the program (fellow programmers and users). Ultimately, they're not just writing code for the computer itself, they're writing for people all the same.
Attending this workshop has opened my eyes to the reality of tech industries. It's easy for those who aren't a part of this work force to underestimate the crucial interconnected human mechanisms involved in this process. There's no denying it, technology has become an integral extension of man's self and we must learn from it. Thanks to the wonderful Quebec City Chapter of Ladies Learning Code, I walk away from this workshop more knowledgeable, but most importantly, I walk away from here with a better understanding of this vital industry as well as a tremendous amount of respect for those who work in this field. Communication is core to human interaction and development regardless of its shape or form. As Marshall McLuhan brilliantly stated, "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us."
"The medium is the message."
- Marshall McLuhan