Thoughts on the 5 Day Coding Challenge

My name is Billy Keenan, and I work in the marketing department of Code Institute. Some background on myself, I studied Communications Studies in Dublin City University. While I was studying, I worked as a journalist to support myself and was heavily involved in DCU’s Media Production Society.

With this in mind, when Code Institute’s 5 Day Coding Challenge was presented to me, I almost looked around the room, thinking I’d been mistaken for someone else.

I was used to working with cameras, editing audio and producing copy. To me, coding was an optional module in Transition Year (in secondary school) that I was too afraid to take.

Having studied and worked in the media, I really did question whether or not I had a right to try my hand at Code Institute’s 5 Day Coding Challenge. There’s a perception that coders are part of an exclusive club and personally I felt that, even if I wanted to join the said club, I wouldn’t be able to. I was wrong.

Billy & the 5 Day Coding Challenge

Day 1 – What is Web Development?

Again, I was hesitant about whether or not I would be able for the 5 Day Coding Challenge, but I was immediately put at ease. I found the pace of the first few videos to be very inviting and they set the scene and tone for the challenges very well.

Having been told what will be covered throughout the five days, you’re introduced to your first coding language, HTML. The basic anatomy of HTML and it’s elements are covered and what I thought was great about this section was that you’re given a task or challenge straight away to test your understanding of the absolute basics. This was the logic and process for the rest of your five days and it’s so basic that it could easily have been overlooked, yet it’s double checked before you progress on.

Once you’re set on this, day one progresses on to solidify your understanding of HTML. The lecture slides are very clear, effective and the lecturer is very easy to listen to.

Day one finishes off with you having to create and format text using HTML elements, that matches the style and layout of the example provided.

Day 2 – CSS Overview

I was looking forward to starting day two because I felt like I was up, running and ready to learn by the end of day one.  

Day two started with an entirely new coding language called Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS.
With differences in structure to HTML, CSS is the preferred way for setting the look and feel of a website. Once again, I found the pace of the videos and challenges really helpful, because you were putting the information into practice almost immediately, solidifying it, rather than leaving it all to the end.

I enjoyed the challenges around CSS because they allowed me to put my own style onto my webpage and it was so easy to put my stamp on it.

After two days in the 5 Day Coding Challenge, my nerves and reservations were dispelled because I was still more than able to hold my own.

Day 3 – HTML & the Semantic Web

Day three was fantastic because it took what I had already done in the previous challenges and it asked me to piece the different elements together – to add texture to my work.

The tea recipe challenge, was excellent because it sets a basic template for you to add your own spin on it. Tea is almost considered a ceremony in my house, and I enjoyed creating a recipe that others could use to make their own version of the Keenan House Cup of Tea.  

The inclusion of section, lists and headings on day three took my webpage to a new level, and it gave me an insight into what it took to build the web pages that I visit every day.

Day 4 – Adding Imagery

By now, I no longer feel like an imposter in a coding world. It sounds almost silly to say, but after three simple days, I’d learned things I thought weren’t for me, things I was totally capable of putting into practice. My imposter syndrome was a thing of the past. I was genuinely surprised by what I’d achieved in a matter of four days.

Code Institute provides courses for people who are looking for a career change, and as someone who had absolutely no coding experience, I’d trust that they’d be able to train me into a software developer.

Day 5 – Final Touches

Having gone from feeling like an imposter, I am on the final day of my coding challenge, proudly sitting in front of my very first webpage. I went from nothing to creating something using code. A new language, Javascript is covered on the final day, and it’s timed brilliantly because it gave me the ability to enhance my HTML, with animations.

I enjoyed the 5 Day Coding Challenge. It brought me from having no knowledge of software development to being able to create my very own webpage.

It opened up a whole new world for me, a world I never thought I would, or could, be part of.

The 5 Day Coding Challenge showed me what I could do, and it helped me prove to myself that I could become a software developer – and with Code Institute’s help, I just might.

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