Learning to code with my highly creative, non-technical brain
If you’re a creative through-and-through like me, you may wonder why on Earth would you want to learn coding. For most people who know nothing about coding, it just looks like a lot of technical gobbledygook.
Or an image springs to mind of a man in a hoodie sitting at his desk (in a dimly lit room, of course), doing some coding or hacking on his three monitors and cans of RedBull on the side. Let’s not forget the RGB keyboard, too.
But coding for beginners (or for experienced developers) is nothing like it. Maybe except for the keyboard.
Starting with the very basics
So, when I started my course, I picked things up fairly quick—much to my surprise. The course lasted a few weeks, and I “graduated” with my shiny digital diploma. (It’s even verified for Linkedin!)
This could’ve been the end of it—I satisfied my curiosity, learned something new, did the thing without spending a ton of money on it, and got the paper to prove it.
Making sense of coding and finding your ROI
But, the marketing got me again. An appealing newsletter landed in my inbox while I was away in Paris for a few days off. The discount on the more advanced courses was too good to miss, I thought. I mulled the idea over in my mind for a few days.
- Should I do it? But I’m a B2B writer and a photographer—what would be the point?
- Could I do it? Or, am I really ‘too creative’ to even comprehend more complex technical concepts?
- Is it a waste of time and money? What would be my ROI on this?
After some time, I’m sure my partner said, “why not?” if you can afford it? And that was it. I was sold. Got the course the same night and put down my enrolment date.
I realised I should learn more about coding if I wanted to be more involved in the tech space.
If I want to work with clients that sell no-code tools and software, knowing how things work behind the scenes would be helpful.
If I want to continue creating user guides for software that has the option to inject code, it will make things easier if I have a better idea of what I’m writing about and how to explain the steps in a simple manner to users of different experience levels.
Even just learning some of the jargon or understanding where to find information if I get stuck during my research on a code-related topic. I don’t see a downside to expanding your skills (especially outside of the comfortable skill set you’ve worked on so far), so as long as it doesn’t financially ruin you, and you finish what you started and take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come before jumping into the next thing.
What’s the point of learning to code if you don’t want to be a developer?
A friend of mine asked me something along those lines. I don’t want a career in tech, but you may want to. Besides a new career direction, learning to code (even just the basics) could help you:
- Problem-solve: Coding is all about taking a big, complex concept and breaking it into small, doable chunks. Any project or job you take on in your career, this is a great skill to apply. For this alone, I would recommend you give coding a go.
- Use your creativity in a different space: If you’re creative, you know experimentation is key to growth. Seeing how your artistic skills can apply in a new domain is great for generating new ideas and watching your creativity expand in a new direction and using different tools.
- Harness your expertise when using no-code tool: No-code tools are the way to go for many creators and business owners today, but you can go a step further by understanding how no-code works behind the scenes and use it to your advantage. Plenty of no-code tools will give you an option to inject custom code to further personalise your project. Once you have an idea on how to do it, the possibilities are endless.
- Gain more control over your work: Once you start connecting dots on how certain coding languages work and affect websites and apps, you’re in the driving seat to make changes without relying on others. Sure, you won’t be a top-notch developer after completing a basic coding course, but you’ll have the foundations if you want to tackle a task yourself.
- Get better at distilling and processing information: If you’re a beginner coder, you already know that it’s impossible to know the ins and outs of the coding language you’re learning. Your mind would explode trying to remember every rule. But the trick is knowing how to look for information and find the right answers.
- Collaboration possibilities: Whether you’re a writer, creator, artist, content strategist, learning about the concepts and problems others in the tech space work with opens new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. You don't need to know every coding language, but getting a better understanding of one or two can give you confidence to approach people in tech for projects or collaborations.
- Build on your skills: Once you get some coding experience, you can use that to supplement diving into other careers like UX or UI design, various template creation, technical writing, web design, graphic design, digital marketing, creating your own digital product, just to name a few.
So, how do I start?
There are a gazillion resources and courses online—both free and paid. It all depends on:
- If you want to learn a specific coding language
- How much time can you devote to learning?
- What is your learning style (more/less hands on? Do you prefer video tutorials or written guides?)
- Do you want feedback on your work?
- Do you want a qualification to share on your CV/portfolio?
- What’s your budget?
You can find plenty of free resources on YouTube to get started before, too:
The only downside to free resources is they’re not always structured in a way to help support your learning progress. You will have to dig to find the tutorials that suit your experience level. Watch a few simpler explanatory videos before deciding which direction to go with your learning.
Feel free to message me if you want to chat more about this or have any questions. It can be daunting for non-techy folk to do courses like this because that’s exactly how I felt.