First Coding Experience — The Struggle Is Real

This week’s assignment taught me several important lessons, the first being that this class is likely going to be the most challenging course I have taken thus far at Georgetown University. As a student in the Public Relations and Corporate Communications program, I have been relatively well equipped for my classes thus far – crisis communications, public speaking, event planning, digital analytics are all skills I use in my daily life. I thought that web development, although not a skill I use often, would fall in line with these other classes as a sort of ‘second-nature’ skill. I can now say, after two weeks and numerous hours staring at my computer screen, I was wrong.

To begin, coding is very rational, as Codecademy explained the abbreviations are largely based on logic (e.g. px stands for pixel), the codes are straightforward (e.g. font-size equates to the size of the font), and almost all of the codes open and close with the same pattern (e.g. <tag> content </tag>). Yet, the system is so, incredibly fickle and specific, that I find myself struggling to understand the nuances between a <div> and an <id> and how an <h1> tag is different than a <div category =intro> if there is only one intro tag in the document? (I could continue with this stream of consciousness for pages, as I struggled with these differences for hours, but I will spare you that pain.)

I also struggled because I would then try to Google the questions in my mind, but I found I did not have the correct wording to find the answers I sought. I could envision in my head the piece of code I saw in previous Codecademy exercises that I was trying to recreate, but my search queries of “how to make a div connect to CSS” or “how to make a picture fit in the textbox CSS” resulted in nothing of use, which was frustrating.

In public relations and writing, there is no one answer to any solution. There are numerous ways to write a speech, pitch a story, structure a corporate campaign, etc. Thus, I think the exactness of coding is something that I will struggle with, especially given that I do not fully understand why one code works whereas another doesn’t, even if they serve (to my knowledge) similar, if not identical, purposes. I am hopeful that as my knowledge of coding grows, this confusion will subside and I will find it easier to differentiate between tools, tags, labels, numbers, etc.

At this point my biggest question is better understanding the purpose of a div, and how to use that div, and the offshoot of a category or a class, in CSS coding.

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