It’s been almost 7 years now that the title on my business card says “Software Developer” and yet I’m still learning new things every day. Being a programmer is not about knowing how to do everything but rather knowing enough to get started and then being able to speak the language and know basic tools so that you can google for the rest and ask intelligent questions.
I’m slowing stepping my toes into the community after being submerged in pregnancy and the first year of motherhood fog for the last two years. And I find that every time I attend a KC Women in Technology event, I come away feeling energized, refreshed, and excited. I recently had the opportunity to be a mentor at a Coding & Cocktails class and I can’t wait to return.
As a mentor, I quickly realized that I don’t have to have all of the answers immediately. Most of the time, the most valuable part was walking the student through my thinking process of how I go about debugging and figuring out how to solve the problem. My job isn’t just to get them to the right answer or get their computer to work right; I want them to feel that same rush of adrenaline from executing commands correctly and making the computer do what they asked.
The March session explored Command Line Basics which can seem a little abstract compared to HTML and CSS but being able to navigate through the command line is really helpful and will come in very handy as your programming skills increase. Typing in commands not only allows you to take control of your computer in a way that clicking with a mouse doesn’t but it also opens the door to finding patterns to your work that could eventually benefit from scripting.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely frustrating at first. But the more you use it, the more comfortable it will become. Force yourself to just use the command line instead of icons or drag and drop and clicking tools.
Could you do an online tutorial from the comfort of your own home on your couch and in your pajamas? Of course you could. But you’d be missing the best part of Coding & Cocktails which is the community and fellowship of working with other women from all backgrounds and skill levels (and the cocktails which are AMAZING!). I loved engaging with other mentors and students and finding out about their backgrounds and why they were participating. The best part is that we all have one thing in common – we want to help each other learn more!