About 12 weeks ago, I got an email from my university about something called Code First: Girls. This is essentially a free course programme that teaches you the basics of coding, with the intention to increase the number of women working in IT.
I thought it sounded good, and like something I’d be interested in, so I registered my interest. And then I received another email with how to apply, so I filled it out (it’s only a short form but it does ask why you need coding/how you intend to use it) and got a place.
And, for the last 8 weeks, I have attended the 2 hour Code First sessions.
Now, I’d just like to say here that I am in no way affiliated with Code First (except completing the course!) and all opinions are completely my own.
I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about the course.
In one sense, I did learn quite a bit. I learnt the basics of coding, for sure, and I feel like I could confidently make small changes to my blog through coding.
We also had pretty good instructors. It’s important to remember that the instructors aren’t teaching experts (some of them were students themselves!) and so, they may not have yet developed the best people management/content delivery skills. 3 out of 4 of our instructors did a really great job. There was one instructor who delivered a session that left us all confused and bewildered, but thankfully the other instructors were on hand to assist. I’m unsure whether the instructors are volunteers or whether it is a paid position but, nevertheless, they did a good job.
They also provided us with really good resources. We got access to applications such as GitHub and Atom, and useful online tutorials/resources for when we got stuck. We also had a course group chat where we could ask questions etc, which really helped.
Personally, the main problem I had with the programme was that it felt like a lot of time wasted. We were sometimes given much more than the length of time that we needed to complete a task, so this resulted in us sitting around waiting for the next section.
As it ran from 6.30pm – 8.30pm, this additional time was particularly de-motivating because we were all tired, and trying to retain focus and interest whilst tired and waiting is difficult.
To be honest, I’d have much rather had it in the middle of the day. I’m assuming that they decided on that time so that people didn’t have timetable clashes etc, but it make it hard for students who have part-time work and it also is hard for commuting students- I wouldn’t get home until 10pm those nights!
The curriculum was a little tedious and long-winded, but hey, I learnt a lot from it so how can I complain?
I know that these are just minor details in the grand scheme of things, but I wanted to mention them because I want this review to be completely fair and honest.
Would I Recommend Code First?
If you have absolutely no knowledge of coding and want to gain a very basic level, yes! You will learn things you didn’t know that will be useful, particularly if you are a blogger and are wanting to make small changes to your site.
At the end of the day, Code First is a free course where I learnt things that I didn’t know before and acquired skills that I didn’t have before. So, for that, I am grateful.
And, if you’re interested, you can access their site and see if they’re running a free community course near you here.