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The not-so-secret code

Another year in journalism, another non-verbal language. This time, coding.

At the very least, it seems reasonable that journalists writing for online should know what web pages are and how they’re built.

I’m hardly techie by nature (just ask my 15-year-old brother — master computer gamer, operator of the Sky remote, and my personal IT helpdesk), and I’m not planning on going into web development per se,  but understanding our medium makes us better storytellers.

After chipping away at Codecademy, I attended the Enspiral Dev Academy One Day Intensive.

To give you an idea of the scope of the course, here’s the “prep” list:

Playing with the Inspector and jQuery was amusing:

All in a day's coding course

All in a day’s coding course

The day also included talks around “Engineering Empathy”. I hadn’t realised there was such a focus on “softer skills” — such as emotional intelligence — in the tech industry. As the coaches said: in a knowledge-based industry, your mind is your greatest tool. It makes sense to train it.

(Mindfulness… now that’s a whole other post.)

We did “listen and loop” exercises, which felt a lot like what I do on a daily basis. Although as a journo it was rather disconcerting having to answer rather than ask questions.

The whole culture of open-source coding, where developers lay bare the original source code for others to copy, redistribute, improve, is a pretty cool philosophy and makes it much easier for noobs such as myself to get on board.

All in all, a great way to spend my birthday.

Thanks, Dev Academy.

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