Why I Learned to Code in My Thirties and You Should Too

Why I Learned to Code in My Thirties and You Should Too

If not now, when?

It took me years to start coding seriously. I told myself that I wasn't smart enough, that it was too logical for a creative like me, that it was too expensive (coding bootcamps, am I right?), the list went on and on. I finally bought Brad Traversy's "Modern HTML & CSS From The Beginning (Including Sass)" through Udemy in 2019. (For those of you who haven't purchased from Udemy before, never purchase a course for full price, there will always be another sale a day or two later (if not a few hours) where courses will be $20/£20 at most).

It would be another two years after purchasing Brad's course before I finally dedicated my time to complete it in April/May 2021. I'm pleased to say that I loved the course (Brad is a great teacher), and I love coding. Now, a few months later, I'm enrolled in an affordable Full Stack Web + Mobile Development bootcamp with Nucamp*. I'll be blogging about my experience with Nucamp* in the coming weeks.

So, here's why I finally took the plunge and started learning to code and you should too!

1. You owe it to yourself to give it a go

For years, I had a voice in my head that told me all of the reasons why I couldn't be a coder. I let it put me down and dissuade me from even giving it a go. That voice in my head, that might also be in yours, is in my opinion, a form of Imposter Syndrome. Those thoughts are negative and intrusive and they don't want to see you succeed or even try because they would rather that you stay comfortable believing that you aren't good enough to give it a go. You owe it to yourself to prove it wrong.

One of the key things I've found in my coding journey is that finding an instructor who resonates with you and teaches in a way that you understand is make or break to your learning. If you are going the self-taught route, there are plenty of online instructors out there: Brad Traversy, Colt Steele and Angela Yu just to name a few.

There have been so many times when things just aren't clicking for me. (I still get tripped up by Position: Absolute and Relative...) but telling myself that I'm not smart enough to understand it would have made me stop learning on day one. Instead, if I don't understand something I Google it, go to Stack Overflow, refer to the documentation, learn from a YouTube video and keep going until I do get it. We all have different learning styles and what works for someone else, might not work for you. So don't kick yourself when you're approaching a difficult subject, instead, be proud that you're challenging yourself. That feeling when it finally clicks is worth it.

2. Even if you don't want to be a developer, coding is a very useful skill to have

I'm a marketing professional so I have some interaction with code when I'm editing email templates and landing pages, or mocking something up for our developers to code on our company website. In 2019 and 2020, I was also instrumental in leading a website redevelopment project at my then company. It was a fascinating project to have been involved with but I remember at one stage being a bit frustrated when I had to resolve an issue between our developers. You see our backend developers complained that our frontend developers had delivered "messy code". I got them both on a call so that we could discuss how to move forward and our backend developers didn't say anything. In fact, they made out like the project was perfectly fine. Now I get it, some people don't like confrontation but when you're paying for a service (and if I told you how much the website cost, your eyes would water), you expect it to be delivered to a certain standard. What frustrated me the most in this situation was that I'd seen the code and while I could probably change the colours and add a paragraph, I had no idea what was actually wrong with it. All those times I'd created templates and edited code I had no idea if what I was doing was best practice, I just got it to look right.

For me, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are key languages to learn but for you, it could be something else. Here's an example:


Note: these aren't set in stone. It's a quick guide.

3. Coding combines creativity and problem-solving (a blend that I love)

Building something from nothing is what I get my kicks from. I also write novels and ran a successful hair and beauty YouTube channel. I thought that coding would be way too logical and mathematical for me but actually, as I'm most interested in frontend, it's perfect. I get to design and build websites and apps that aren't just functional but are also aesthetically pleasing.

Also, if you're the type of person who loves that feeling when you've solved a puzzle or a problem, coding will be perfect for you. There are times when something just won't work the way I expect it to and when I eventually see the solution, it's an awesome feeling.

There's so much you can do with code. Perhaps, you enjoy creating visual novel games or making apps that make complex tasks simple or perhaps you'd enjoy creating CSS art. The possibilities are endless.

4. It's super cheap to start learning

As mentioned, I bought my first course from Udemy for about $13 but there are lots of invaluable free resources as well. Some of my favourites are:

5. The Tech industry needs more diversity

As a Black British woman of Caribbean descent, this one is very important to me. The tech industry, in particular, is starved of diversity.

Growing up in Hampshire in England, there have been so many situations when I've either been the only Black person or one of only a few Black people both at work and school. Thinking about it, even having worked in the U.S. and the UK during my 10+ year career, I can only think of one company where our senior leadership had a Black woman on the team. That's absolutely terrible. I, for one, am tired of situations like this.

Starting this blog and making my voice heard on Twitter is only a very small step but I hope to encourage other people who aren't represented in the workforce to learn more about coding and marketing--and to not let anything hold them back from achieving their dreams. I sure won't!

Check back soon for my first update on my full stack bootcamp with Nucamp*. I'm coming to the end of my first module and I have lots to share.

Thanks for reading!

*This is an affiliate link. If you enrol in a course through this link, I'll get a credit to apply to another bootcamp through Nucamp. If you would rather go directly to their site without clicking the affiliate link, click here.