Queer Your Tech With Fun: Your New Year’s Resolution to Code in 2013

Welcome to the eighth installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy new tech column. Not everything I cover will be queer per se, but it will be about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology.

Header by Rory Midhani


So to break up the backing up series, I thought I’d just do a short interlude today while all of y’all are out purchasing or making your hard drives. I’ll start up again next week with cloud storage solutions.

This past year, there was a push to learn how to code with Code Year. Code Year was run by Code Academy, and while we don’t really have a ton of time to jump on the Code Year bandwagon for 2012, we can certainly do it in 2013. Code Academy makes it fast and fun to learn to code with JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Ruby and Python.

The virtual badges from Code Academy via z1g1.net

The virtual badges from Code Academy via z1g1.net

You get these teeny tiny little badges like you’re coding girl scout nerd, which of course makes me smile a lot. And you can code with your friends. And the Code Year syllabus certainly isn’t limited to 2012. You can start it any time you like.

Why learn to code? Well, that’s up to you. Coding is like learning another language – it simply opens up more possibilities for you. Haven’t you ever wondered how a website is made? Or how that app on your phone actually runs? There are plenty of arguments for not learning to code, like that it’s actually really hard to learn to code and we shouldn’t take it on lightly, or that we’re putting the practice of coding before the practice of problem solving. But here’s the thing. I don’t agree with any of the reasons why you shouldn’t learn to code. I’m also not telling you to race out and become a professional programmer.

I think learning for the sake of learning is important. We are so often taught as we grow up that healthy curiosity is a waste of our time and that nothing is worth doing if you’re not doing it well or professionally. If you’re curious as to what CSS is, I think you should be able to learn to code without being discouraged by the sometimes vicious tech world. I also think that, like any language, the more tools you have in your tool belt, the more you’ll be able to learn new ways of thinking and approaching problems. It’s not really about the code – it’s about stretching, growing, learning about new things you haven’t touched before. Like Laneia said, we aren’t done yet (okay, she said that about her children. But I like to think we’re all Laneia’s children). Plus if you don’t know what code can do, how do we know it’s not the right way to solve XYZ problem we’ve been experiencing? How do you know that code can’t help you in this new business you’re starting? What if code can make you breakfast in the morning? (If anyone has figured that last one out, please contact me? I love breakfast and this Twitter-triggered coffee pot is the only example I can find.)

via enterpriseirregulars.com

via enterpriseirregulars.com

If you’re not into Code Academy, try Kahn Academy, which is basically free education on just about anything. They’ve got a coding section too. And also you earn badges. (What? I still wish I was a girl scout? Naw, what are you talking about?!) If you’re thinking this all sounds too easy, you could Learn Python the Hard Way (also for free).

So what do you say? Who’s with me? Computer literacy is a huge deal now that most of our lives happen with some form of technology involved, and learning the language behind it is a part of that. If you have any more coding resources that I missed, feel free to share in the comments. We may have missed the boat on learning to code in 2012, but 2013? The year is ours.

Lana has written 12 articles for us.


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