How I fell into coding and why I love it

How I fell into coding and why I love it

Anna Cunnane is Export Sales Manager at Kyle Books. In her spare time she is Chair of the Society of Young Publishers and dabbles in coding.  She is also a The Bookseller Rising Star 2015.

It seems strange to be writing about coding as I had a very traditional route into publishing. I did an English degree and a Publishing MA and the last time I studied anything remotely maths or science related was when I was 16. But I’ve always liked logic puzzles and learning coding seemed to be to very logical. I also enjoy looking inside things and seeing how they work. It seemed like a good way to combine the skills I’d learnt from my humanities degrees with a hard skill that was going to make me more employable.

I’m kept pretty busy at the moment with a job in sales and the SYP, but I’ve taken a couple of online courses at Code Academy and a weekend boot camp at General Assembly. What they’ve taught me is that learning to code is just like learning another language; it takes time and effort and lots of practice. I’m concentrating on HTML5 and CSS with a bit of Javascript thrown in but there are loads of other options to explore from Ruby on Rails for building apps to back end languages like PHP, Python and .Net if you’re more into data manipulation.

So how do you get started with HMTL? Get going on an online course and practice until you can remember and are comfortable using all the most common tags. I can promise you that you will get infuriated, elated, cross eyed and exhausted in equal measure but don’t be disheartened. I’m told that these are all normal parts of the process. You will infuriated because often nothing works the way it’s supposed to (usually because you’ve put a bracket in the wrong place) and elated because there’s nothing like making changes in the code and seeing them appear on screen. It is surprisingly exciting to make a website that looks like it was made in 1996, trust me.

Of course, not everyone in publishing needs to code and we won’t all be web developers on the side, but it is useful to know a bit. If you’re familiar with how all of these products and platforms that we use work you can at least start to figure out why things might be going wrong. Coding helps you to approach problems in an analytical and systematic way. Above all, it’s fun and connects you to a community of other coders who are generally supportive and encouraging.

Learning coding doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact most online courses are free.

I’d love to collaborate or chat so tweet me @MollyBloom1989

Happy coding!