Do you want to know the hardest part about learning how to code? It's getting over the mental block that coding is hard. Because it's not. My 9-year-old can do it and so can I.
Last year, with a little prompting from the Hour of Code movement — a push to get folks comfortable with the basics of computer coding — I decided that my girls, aged 12 and 9, needed an introduction to this crazy and confusing world of coding if they were going to survive in a 2.0 world.
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We are homeschoolers, and I feel relatively confident teaching my girls about everything from American history to the Pythagorean theorem to Frida Kahlo. But coding? That was a different story. I knew absolutely nothing about coding nor did I want to. I'm pretty good with computers and software in general, but this behind-the-scenes stuff just terrified me. Just looking at the basic HTML behind this blog makes me feel like an old lady.
Obviously, I wasn't going to be the one to lead my girls into this brave new world of coding. So I signed them both up for an introductory computer programming class via Khan Academy. If you're not familiar with Khan Academy, you should definitely take a look. Khan Academy has courses in everything from math to art history to, yes, computer programming, all broken down into easy videos and tutorials.
The girls were hesitant at first. They're not really into video games or gadgets, and the idea of computer programming seemed as foreign to them as it did to me. But after their first lesson — which involved helping Elsa from the movie "Frozen" skate in a figure-eight path around a lake — they were hooked. And as I watched over their shoulders, so was I.
I realized quickly that if I were going to have any clue what the girls were talking about when it came to computers, I needed to learn this stuff right alongside them, so I signed up with Khan Academy too.
This isn't the part where I tell you that I'm a computer whiz kid now making millions with my new programming company.
I'm still working on the basics, but the concept is far less daunting to me then it was a year ago. In fact, while most people think that coding is a math-heavy field filled with equations and formulas, I've learned that it's more like a new language, and once you master the grammar and some basic vocabulary, you can get by very well with a little trial and error.
Truly, the hardest part about learning to code is getting out of your own way and signing up for a class.