I’ve been learning to code, on and off, for several years. In the 13 years I spent as a web designer, I picked up a thing or two with regards fixing and tweaking code, but mainly just HTML and CSS and if the Instagram memes are anything to go by, they’re not considered coding by any real coders.

Still, I learned how to find bits of code and tweak them, but I couldn’t have built a website from scratch (I am a genius with WordPress though).

I signed up for all manner of online lessons. I tried Javascript, Python, Ruby… but in every course I would get to the same point and give up. I find it hard to follow courses, I tend to learn by doing. Having something I want to make and learning how to make it.

Two of the kids from the kids tech club I run entered the Big Bang NW competition and won a place in the final. Their project, The Kerbinator, aims to make the streets more accessible for wheel chair users by using crowdsourced data to locate drop kerbs/ramps, and adding them to a map so that wheelchair users can plan their routes to include the drop kerbs. It’s a fabulous idea. The plan was to build a gadget that would include a button, which when pressed would write the gps coordinates and upload them to a database which would then be added to the map.
Feedback from the judges at the Big Bang suggested that a mobile app would make it more easily distributed in terms of crowdsourcing and so we decided to work on that for the final.

So now I have a purpose for learning to code. Although we have roped in a volunteer expert programmer who is mentoring the kids, I at least now have a direction for my learning… as well as an expert to help me when I get stuck!

So you can follow my journey as I learn NodeJS and MongoDB… whatever they are!

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