I’ve discovered a really good meetup for anyone aspiring to code. It’s the Manchester freeCodeCamp chapter which meets every week on Wednesday at SpaceportX in Northern Quarter.
They ran this particular event as part of National Coding Week, a grassroots movement that aims to help more people learn to code. Sophie is also a National Coding Week ambassador.
What is freeCodeCamp?
You make an account, complete the online freeCodeCamp coding tutorials, and then meet up with others doing the same thing, or connect with more advanced mentors in the software engineering industry.
When completing the online tutorials, you should generally proceed in the order they’re presented, and the modules point you to the real-life documentation that developers are using every day.
During the opening talks, we were told about the mission of freeCodeCamp.
There are 1796 chapters around the world and they have helped many of their members into software engineering roles. The projects you complete as part of freeCodeCamp can also be included in your portfolio to help you when applying for jobs.
They pride themselves on their open and diverse community. The event this evening did feel male-heavy but not in an intimidating way. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly.
Even if you have absolutely zero coding knowledge you should still come along because people will be willing to help you. It makes learning to code a lot more real, interesting and motivating because you can talk to people about your challenges and progress.
And don’t underestimate the importance of your network as you build your career in technology, or any field. You won’t be able to do much without it, and your journey will be a lot less fun!
What the event was like
I quite liked being in a public setting and discussing technical matters. Many of the events I go to are focused on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry for women and minorities, so naturally, the topics tend to be more accessible, like the issues people face entering the tech industry.
At freeCodeCamp, people talk about the languages they’re learning, the tools they’re using to do it and their professional goals in software engineering. But I noticed the presenters took care to explain all terms or tools they mentioned so they don’t make new people feel excluded or ignorant.
Best of all, freeCodeCamp is absolutely, 100% free and run by dedicated volunteers with the help of corporate sponsors. Their mission is to help more people learn to code and find a job as a software developer.
freeCodeCamp is open source, which means it was built and is maintained by the community. The code is open for everyone to inspect and use. The freeCodeCamp open source project is something you can get involved in as you advance with your coding and gain confidence. It’s also a great thing to have on your portfolio.
This event was sponsored by Northcoders, a software engineering bootcamp based in Manchester notable for its focus on diversity and inclusion. They frequently offer scholarships for women applying to their courses and, in fact, they have four open now for their November cohort. Don’t miss out.
There are still quite a few coding events you can attend around Manchester as part of National Coding Week, organised by Full Stack of Pancakes.
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