Why I love… Coding

Author: Sam Kirkbride - Technology Director

Date: 24 June 2022

Non-developers and programmers often don’t understand why developers enjoy sitting with their heads in a black terminal screen (because we love dark mode) typing out a bunch of weird symbols for hours on end, hoping to not have to interact with anyone else. 

Well, I imagine the reasons are probably different for each developer, but here is why I love coding. 

The Beginning

I started writing code sometime around 2003 or 2004. I didn’t know that is what I was doing at the time though, I just thought I was making a really cool MySpace profile (it wasn’t, it was a mess). But thinking back now, I realise I was writing CSS to change the colours of elements and to hide features that I didn’t like, HTML to add videos and images and JavaScript to change my page’s music player. 

In 2007 I was accepted at Huddersfield University to do a Business and ICT course. That course included an Introduction to Web Development module where I learnt HTML, CSS and JavaScript and in my second year, PHP and SQL. In my final year, I learnt about Content Management Systems like Drupal and Joomla and also worked with ASP.NET, Visual Basic and C#. 

What Do I Love About Code?

I think the thing I love about coding is how writing code produces an output. When I was at school, my favourite subjects were technology doing woodwork, electronics and pneumatics, where you do something and you create something at the end of the process. So while I’m not using saws, soldering irons and drills anymore, writing code has that same visual output at the end that I love (to me at least). 

Each step along the way, whether that is writing HTML and seeing the building blocks of a web page, CSS and seeing the web page take on a client’s branding, JavaScript and creating complex functionality for users to use on the website, or Python, JavaScript or other languages to create pipelines for transferring and transforming data, seeing the code work at the end is what I love. 

How To Get Into Coding

While I did a degree where I learnt a lot of the skills that I still use today, it’s not the only route in learning to code. I’ve worked with people who are completely self-taught and not having a degree hasn’t set them back in regards to the skills they have. 

There are plenty of free and paid courses out there for every programming language you can think of, so pick one and stick at it until you think you have a good understanding of it. Chopping and changing between different languages when you are first starting can get confusing, so focus on one area. 

I started with HTML and CSS, which helped me understand how a website is structured and styled, and from there I was able to learn about how to use things like JavaScript and PHP to be able to manipulate how the website works. 

I find the best way to learn is by doing, so once you have learnt the basics, start building your own website with whichever language you have learnt and go from there. You’ll run into roadblocks along the way, but use StackOverflow and Google and see if other people have had similar issues. I still use Google every day to help me even after doing this for 15 years. 

Even when you do hit roadblocks, there’s always a solution to figure out. It may be challenging at times, but the output of a well created website is worth it in the end.

And that’s why I love coding.

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