Hugh McGuire and Belinda Darcey
Having spent many hours researching and trying out various online coding classes, here are my personal recommendations for women interested in learning to code. These classes are aimed at those wanting to learn programming languages used in web design, web development and apps (mobile apps and web apps). I’m assuming you are somewhere on the continuum of Absolute Beginner to Intermediate. If you’re more advanced (computer science degree or 2+ programming languages), you might prefer the iTunes U or Stanford online classes, as most of these require that you have some prior programming experience.
What makes these classes ideal for women?
- A learning atmosphere that values collaboration and connection over competition;
- a flat sense of hierarchy between instructors and students;
- a complete absence of “dominant alpha” posturing;
- an atmosphere of “no such thing as a stupid question”;
- minimal use of jargon;
- maximum use of metaphor to clarify abstract concepts;
- friendly, approachable tone to the copy;
- fun and helpful graphics;
- images of women or mixed groups of people that signal that women are welcome;
- a clean, elegant interface;
- harmonious visuals.
Yes, women notice all these things, and gravitate to sites that invest in beautiful design and clear copy. Word-of-mouth via social networks goes a long way too.
Created by women for women and my, is it pretty. Sure to inspire women of all ages to take up coding. Beginner “Create Your Own Website/Portfolio” web design classes (HTML, CSS) offered online for women twice a month, limit of 50 participants per class, and a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:10. “Class lessons are taught via a mix of online interactive & video lessons, challenges, short readings, inspirational stories, and LOTS of collaboration.” In other words, lots of accountability and motivation from others. Sign up for the free 10 Day Skillcrush Bootcamp newsletter and receive a crash course plus a new tech term a week. You’ll soon be speaking like a pro in meetings (and at cocktail parties).
Cost: $125 for 2 weeks.
Cost: $25/month all-you-can-learn (like a gym membership) with a 7-day free trial.
4) CODE ACADEMY
Take classes from top universities for free (time commitment of 5 – 10 hours a week for 6 – 10 weeks). Great structure (10 – 20 minute lectures, assigned reading + lab, group & instructor feedback). Coding courses are more wide-ranging in topic than a basic how-to, but also more enriching. Ideal if you’re feeling apathetic about your career and are looking for a change in field as well as augmenting your skills. Geo-spatial mapping, anyone?
The rejects? Google University, (too technical for beginners and the course schedule is sporadic) Mozilla Webcraft (dependent on users teaching other users, so there’s no reliable quality standards or trained teachers), CodeSchool (has a distinctly boys club feel and zero info on the teachers).
Take what you can use, discard the rest. Happy coding.