Hi, I’m Loren! I’m a small business owner, and I learned to code through Codecademy.
How I got started with coding
I’ve always been a geek, and I’ve known my way around computers for a long time, but until recently I only had basic coding skills. My marketing agency (Millennia Media, LLC.) offers website development as a service, and I have developers to do that work for us, but without a more robust coding background… I felt left out of the conversation. I wanted to learn more to be able to better manage and direct the developers, to understand the details – the possibilities and limitations – of what we might offer a client. That’s why I signed up for Codecademy Pro Intensive.
What I learned
I’ve taken a bunch of online courses before, including for my MBA, and in retrospect they seem almost… sterile in contrast to Codecademy. Being able to connect to a mentor live over a video stream, to see their excitement, to observe them working through problems, to be able to talk with them and get answers… it was more personal, more warm, and it helped me to learn better. Additionally, the projects helped reinforce and apply the skills I learned. With Pro Intensive I knew I could code because I’d done it and I had the projects to prove it. It was a step beyond.
Where I am now
After taking Codecademy Pro Intensive, I know enough code to be able to build my own websites, and though I’m going to continue to have my developers do the coding for clients, the fact that I know how they do what they do has made the world of difference. Look, I’m an older person (I’ll put it out there, I’m 55) and when I talk to 18 or 19 year old kids and I know how to code… it’s empowering. They look at you differently. They’re surprised that I can do tech stuff and speak the language and do some of the things they can do. Now that I can code, I work better with my team: I can delegate more effectively, I can give them more detailed and informed instruction, there’s greater trust… and now that I know some code too, they work not just to do the job but to impress me. It helps me to be a leader, and not just a manager. The same applies outside of the office: my new ability to communicate our technical offerings to clients has already helped me close more deals.
Where I’m going
I’m always learning and signing up for courses. Even after going to law school and business school, I know that coding won’t be any different: I have so much more to learn! I don’t necessarily want to be a developer, but I do want to get to the point where I could get really hands-on with my agency’s dev work if I needed or wanted to. In the near future, that means learning even more about front-end development through Codecademy. Beyond then, well I guess we’ll see!
My advice to others
Even if your job isn’t technical, even if you can rely on others to do the technical things for you: learn to code. Even if you don’t and won’t use them often: get the skills, and practice them when you can. Knowing code is about more than just being able to make websites, it changes how you interact with people, how you see the world, and how you do a “non-technical” job too. The way things are going, in a few years having technical skills will be a necessity not a luxury. Don’t get left behind; invest in yourself!
Kathleen Houlihan is a leader in workforce innovation and she is the Founder of an agency that reimagines talent acquisition and optimizes the system for candidates and employers. Her company, Dream2Career, provides human-centric ROI solutions that filter-in candidates who exceed expectations in the workplace.