This week’s assignment was my favorite thus far, partially because it used more traditional communications skills (e.g. interviewing, synthesizing, writing, etc.), but also because it reinforced that learning to code is not easy. Sarah Howe, the web developer I spoke with, talked extensively about her experience learning to code—noting it was a lot of trial and error, frustrating assignments, and a constant growing pain. When I discussed my frustrations with my experience thus far she reassured me my feelings were normal and with time my emotions would transition from infuriating, to frustrating, to exciting.
It was also reassuring to hear someone say this that now makes a career out of coding. Sarah is not just an individual that codes on occasion, her entire profession is based around web development, so if she struggled at the beginning that is really is only natural that I too am struggling a bit.
She also pointed out that you are never really ‘done’ learning to code, the way you might ‘complete’ another assignment. She said she is constantly learning new pieces of code, and there are a lot of things her coworkers handle that she does not understand. I had not thought of coding as something that can branch off into different practices in the way that public relations can break into different professions (e.g. media relations, social media, corporate communications, etc.) After speaking with Sarah, however, I now realize that there are lots of different ways someone can work in web development or coding. They can be back end, front end, client facing, management, or numerous other positions that all require knowledge of coding and web development, but to varying degrees.
I really enjoyed this assignment as I think, up until this point, we have been very focused on micro level coding and this was our first big picture look at web development. Rather than focusing on specific lines of code, we spoke with someone who enabled us to see the big picture of web development, including what you are trying to achieve with coding, the different career paths you can pursue with this knowledge, and the larger scale considerations you have to keep in mind when working on a site.