There’s a fair amount of talk in the industry on whether you should learn to code. A debate, even. I won’t make too much out of it since the answer seems fairly obvious. Knowing a programming language is obviously good, but it may not be the best use of your time. It’s also neither necessary nor sufficient to be a good linkbuilder. It’s seemingly in the the nice to have category – like being a decent designer.
My own thoughts are as follows: I’ve made an inconsistent effort in the past and it’s paid off. It’s been worth it. The plan is now to make a concentrated, sustained effort and see if that pays off. Remembering that a year ago I didn’t even know html it’s quite interesting what you can assimilate just by working in the right environment. Everything I’ve learned in this area has made my work life easier. Since I spend a large chunk of my waking life at work, it would seem to be in my interests to do what I can to be more productive. If you think it’ll make your working life easier; learning more shouldn’t need too much agonizing over.
One of the main purposes of this blog is to practice my writing, and put myself under pressure to keep writing regularly (I hear it helps when you need to write under pressure). The other main purpose is so I get a better understanding of SEO. This is going to involve breaking things and working out how to fix them – but so far I haven’t been too adventurous (except that favicon). This is partly because I don’t know where to start, and partly because I’m not too fond of implementing ad-hoc solutions.
You’ll note from my posts here and elsewhere that I work from a very limited toolset, and come up with interesting ways to combine those tools in ways the creators never intended. I’d like a more robust toolkit (i.e. more than google docs), and I’d like to understand the things I’m doing every day in more depth.
Where to Start
It’s an excellent time to be learning, I’ll grant that. Us kids have it easy. And cheap. I also have the advantage of working in a relevant field – I can stare at source code all day and it’ll look like I’m working; there’s crossover. These spring to mind right now (I’ll add to this as I discover them):
- Learn Python the Hard Way comes highly recommended.
- Harvard’s CS50 course looks excellent if you prefer videos.
- Mechanical Mooc combines MIT and Codecademy’s courses.
- My mind is drawing a blank right now.
I’m a sucker for decision paralysis, so I’m just going to start. I’ll be taking on Codecademy’s code year track with the view to staring 2013 having completed it. They’ve lost most of my data from previous attempts, but I’m fine with that; it just means I’m starting fresh. Once I’ve finished this I’ll probably take a look at Team Treehouse. We’ll see if it was the best decision later, but the important thing is I’m starting.
By making this public I’ve made it harder for myself to quit. I recommend you do the same. Though maybe code year is a terrible idea and I should just read SICP and become a wizard. I’m never linking to this many .edu’s in one post again… Hit me up on Twitter if you’re doing something similar.