Since late last year, I’ve desperately wanted to learn how to code. Some time after finishing Year 12 and before the new year, I realised that coding was an important skill to have if I wanted to work in media. I remember watching an episode of Girls in which Hannah is fired from her job but another woman gets a promotion. Apparently she knew how to use Photoshop and how to code. I started researching coding classes and saw that they were $3000. I looked in to doing an extra course at RMIT. No luck. I investigated whether I could learn everything I wanted to know through my own online research, and while it is possible, it takes a lot of work, time and dedication.
My experience with HTML coding is limited to tumblr. I know how to fiddle with a theme to make it work for me. I know how to move pieces around and how to make a sidebar image bigger. I know how to delete an unwanted link and how to add little features like borders or timestamps. I also know how to make the text on a post smaller. But this knowledge doesn’t seem to be helpful outside of tumblr. I don’t understand what I am doing, I just know that it works. I don’t know why that bracket has to go there or why that letter is an ‘H’. It’s just how it is. I want to know how to speak the coder’s language. I want to know how to write it, understand it and translate it.
I was excited when I found out we would be coding in Network Media. I thought that this would be my introduction to finally learning that all important skill. But I was disappointed to find it seems to be the same as tumblr. We are given a code, with little explanation as to why or how the code does what it does, and we memorise it. Yes, it is an introduction to coding, but it is not an introduction to learning the language. I think that if we are going to be taught this extremely basic lesson in coding, we should at least have the option to continue on learning it if we find out that that’s what we want to do. RMIT should be offering such a course, especially since being network literate seems to be essential to getting ahead in the media industry.
At the end of this semester, I will hopefully set some time aside each week to teach myself how to code. It would be a lot easier if I could take a class, but without $3000 it doesn’t look promising. In a selfish way, I can see that the lack of options for learning how to code might set me apart when I do get round to learning the skill. The fact that it takes either money or huge amounts of time and patience to learn to code is why the skill is so rare. I guess I’m just hoping to be a rarity then.