In contrast, when I learned HTML and CSS, it just building web pages that looked semi-nice. They didn’t do much.
Compared to the internet in the noughties (when I was growing up), there are now so many online games, courses and social media platforms to choose from.
Most of them require some kind of interaction from their users. You might post a text and image-based social media update, or play a new language game online.
Of course, there are other useful programming languages, such as Ruby, Java or Python. You can use any of these depending on the platform, operating system and the end purpose that you’re developing for.
A new way to learn code
Learning the principles of computer science is difficult to say the least, and especially in the context of software development. It’s such a new field that is developing rapidly, a Wild West of technology. And that’s why people love it so much.
And yet, it’s all very well learning what variables and strings are, but if you’re completely new to the game, what does it even matter? You’ll forget it all in a week, unless you understand why.
Software development theory
I come from an arts and humanities background. I can pretty much learn any humanities discipline with ease. It’s all about contextual understanding and subjective interpretation.
But there’s a big difference between learning in the arts, and learning in the sciences. With the latter, you’re absorbing and coming to terms with a pre-existing system defined by others. There is no room for debate in how the system is put together. It just is.
The foundation of all science and engineering is that individual creators should be able to work together, and create technology in a way that is compatible with others in the system. They learn and use a common language to work with what already exists and build upon it. You must understand this principle when you dive into the world of programming.
With the arts, in contrast, everyone is largely working in silos on their own magnificent creations and using their sense of subjective understanding. It’s not important whether it’s compatible within a larger framework because it’s dependent on the individual to interpret the work. (Yeah, it’s not that compatible with the world of employment).
We’ll start with the DOM. This is the Document Object Model.
This model is structured like a tree, with the branches representing the elements. It represents the HTML of the website.
And, according to the W3 (an important web standards body), “The DOM is designed to be used with any programming language.”
This is key, because it means that there can be standardisation in programming and across the web, so it will be easier for different languages to communicate with each other.
Every element within the HTML tree of the DOM is a node. So, for example, a paragraph <p> is a node. So is a list item <li>.
Higher-up branch nodes are ‘parents’, adjacent branch nodes are ‘siblings’, and lower-down nodes are ‘children’ of their ‘parent’ nodes. When you use your code to act upon any element, the same code will also affect any child elements.
According to Dictionary.com:
“the study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language.”
“the grammatical rules and structural patterns governing the ordered use of appropriate words and symbols for issuing commands, writing code, etc., in a particular software application or programming language.”
var x, y, z;
x = 5;
I didn’t become good at writing because I enjoyed how words fit together and coming up with different combinations. I fell in love with the beauty of shared meaning, and telling stories with language.
For women today, it’s not enough to just learn little bits of code, and expect to understand software programming. As someone who just missed out on being a digital native, I need to learn the theoretical models behind computer science, and history of the web itself. So I’m continually learning how it all works as a whole.
Many people, especially women, lack a good understanding of the technologies that have taken over our lives. They’re not familiar with the concept of engineering, and are continuously told they’re not smart enough to understand anyway. Just leave it to the men, people imply.
Plus, it’s very fashionable to learn coding at the moment, and it’s easy to jump straight in without having an end goal in mind. Better yet, in order to become the creators, engineers and designers of future web technologies, you need to gain a thorough introduction to the principles of software development before you learn to code.
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