Should everyone learn to code?

You keep using that word…

We hear about this a lot. Learning to ‘code’. But what are we talking about when we’re talking about coding?

Because that’s not just one thing. There are any number of different languages you could learn – HTML, JavaScript, Python, Java, Objective C, Basic, PHP and on and on and on. At some level, all of those could be considered ‘coding’.

When I say coding, I’m talking about anything you can use to make something with a computer, whether that’s a website, an iPhone app, a game, or a piece of software.

When I say I think everyone should learn to code, I mean that I think everyone should have the skills to make at least one simple, basic thing using a computer. Continue reading

I know I can, no matter what you say

I was half-way through 8th grade. At the half-year point, we switched teachers and classrooms. Report cards had just been handed out and I had arrived a bit early in my new science teacher’s classroom. My report card rested on top of the stack of books on my desk.

My new science teacher helped himself to my report card. He peered at me over the top of it and said, “All A’s, huh?”

I smiled at him and said, “Yes. Always.”

And he scowled at me and said, “Well, don’t expect to earn an A in my class. Girls don’t get A’s in my class.

We stared each other down for a few beats, he put my report card back, and walked back to the front of the room. I don’t think he ever spoke directly to me the rest of that semester, but I did, in fact, earn an A in his class. And in just about every other class I took in high school. Continue reading

How I Got Brave Enough to Speak at Conferences

In March of 2006, I attended my first tech conference. And while I came back invigorated, inspired and bubbling over with new ideas, I also realized that what I really wanted from a tech conference was to be on stage. Number one, there were not nearly enough women on stage. Or at the conference, for that matter. And number two, I was smart, dedicated, passionate, and I felt like I had something to contribute to the conversation.

But I didn’t even try to speak at conferences until the very end of 2011. Why? Continue reading