Ladies Learning Code – The Beauty Of Things That Are Both Fun and Useful
By Christin Wiedemann
After finishing her Ph.D. in Physics, Christin started working as a software developer, but found her true vocation when she was asked to test on a project. In her role as Chief Scientist, Christin drives PQA Testing’s research and method development work, and continues to use her scientific background and pedagogic abilities to develop her own skills and those of others. As Co-CEO, she ensures staff, management and clients are happy, while leading the the company toward continued growth and progress. Christin is also an active member of Make Possible and is currently Communications Director of SCWIST.
I was trying hard to remember the exact number of years, but I know for sure that it’s been close to three decades now since I wrote my first piece of code. A friend (another girl in case you were wondering) introduced me to BASIC, and I was immediately hooked. The appeal of programming to me, then and now, is how you step-by-step build a solution to a problem. But it gets better. Once you have the solution, you go back and try to make it cleaner, faster, and more efficient.
I’ve dabbled in a lot of languages, but the last couple of years I haven’t really written any code at all. I do however miss it every now and again, and that’s why I got very excited when I heard about National Learn to Code Day on September 26, 2015, organized by Ladies Learning Code. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get back into programming.
My expectations for the day were set high, but they still got exceeded. Our teacher was great, the mentors were amazingly skilled and patient, and the training material was very impressive – extensive, well-structured and easy to follow.
What impressed me the most, however, was the theme of the workshop – data insights. Everything and everyone today relies on data, and depend on being able to read and manipulate those data. I’ve been to programming workshops in the past, followed online tutorials, etc., but it’s always been hard to take the new skills I’ve learnt and find a way to use them in my every day life. And skills you don’t use fade quickly.
Focusing the workshop on how to read comma-separated values (CSV) files was pure genius. Most of us use spreadsheets on a daily basis, and learning how to use Python to read and work with CSV data means we can take the skills we gained and immediately apply them, and be incited to keep using honing them.
Thank you for teaching me a skill that is not only immensely fun, but also highly useful.
More information on learning opportunities across Canada at: http://ladieslearningcode.com/
Two generations of ladies learning code at National Learn to Code Day held at UBC Computer Science – http://ladieslearningcode.com/codeday/