Relatively recently I decided to try programming. Usually, there are two reasons why people go into coding – curiosity and the need for a career change. My reasoning is a bit of both plus a huge influence from my husband. Seeing him succeed in this industry and soar up the career ladder made me think of what it would be like if I started to code. Besides, I already have a personality of a ‘programming geek’ as such I am a tenacious lover of maths and physics who can spend hours trying to solve a problem. The only missing element is the knowledge of at least one programming language.
I tried learning HTML, VBA and Python. After going through a few tutorials on codeacademy I got bored and gave up. What I didn’t realise while searching for an ideal programming language is having reasoning behind it. Why should you learn it? I work in merchandising and my favourite part of this job is to do analysis, I love interpreting data and then highlighting risks and suggesting solutions. Based on this, SQL was the best programming language for me to try. In fact, I fell in love with it after the first line of code I wrote. SQL felt very easy, friendly and flexible. Knowing SQL you are looking at jobs as a business or data analyst. If you add Python on top of that you can even end up being a highly paid Data Scientist.
And this is how I ended up travelling from London to Manchester to take part in a free Django Girls workshop that teaches you how to program with Python in a framework called Django. My Python developer husband spoke very highly of this workshop and said it would be the best starting point for me as a woman. I applied through their website djangogirls.org where you can also check for other upcoming workshops.
The Manchester workshop took place in Code Nation with its nice offices and lots of space to accommodate 30 Django Girls who came to learn Python.
There were plenty of mentors (experienced developers) who provided help by answering questions and debugging code throughout the whole tutorial. Halfway through we took a lunch break which was then followed by presentations from the industry professionals. They, like us, attended this workshop ‘x’ number of years ago. As a matter of fact, the speakers inspired me to work even harder to achieve what I want as they had. I was astonished at the fact that some of the mentors came from as far as Budapest just for the sake of the workshop. Friendly and casual atmosphere coupled up with supportive teachers definitely had a positive impact on me and my view on what coding really was. What’s more, I now feel more confident and not afraid of making mistakes. In fact, in programming making mistakes means making progress.
If you are an amateur female coder or someone who is keen to learn a programming language but unsure of where to start, try the Django Girls workshop. And although I didn’t fall in love with Python at first sight, it happened the second time after I completed the workshop. It’s also very motivating and you will need plenty of this throughout your journey as a developer, data analyst or data scientist.
Let me know if you have any question about this event and I’ll happily share everything I know 🙂