Morpheus leans towards Neo with his hands outstretched. “You take the blue pill – the story ends … you take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

You know the drill (has The Matrix REALLY been out for 20 years?), Neo takes the red pill (we would too!) and is reborn into a world where the bare bones of everything he once knew comes down to flickering, neon-green code.

Okay, so it’s not quite as extreme as Machine City at MadeBrave HQ (the thought of pizza being an illusion is just a bit much for us to handle, plus we could never action-fight our Amigos, no matter how cool it looks in slow-motion), but you get the point – coding opens up a whole Wonderland of possibilities. Our mighty Digital Team have the coding skills to create whatever they like – don’t be fooled by their ninja wizardry coding skills though, these guys (and gal) all had to start from somewhere. And to mark the end of National Coding Week 2018, we sat down for a chat to find out about the humble beginnings that lead them to become the Masters of Code that built awesome projects for Hunter Laing, IBM and KiltWalk.

“Coding something has always appealed to me. Being interested in computers from a young age, the idea of being able to control them — make them do what I want — was an exciting prospect.” – Lewis, Senior Digital Developer.

That’s what’s cool about coding – you can create a whole world with your fingertips and your PC (or in our case, a Mac) … okay, with a little digital-learning-elbow-grease along the way! Maybe you’re thinking “I’m a bit long in the tooth for this coding malarkey” but whether you’re a digital native or whether the Big Thing when you were growing up was Dungeons and Dragons, National Coding Week is here to let you know that coding’s not just for kids. In fact, sometimes the experts have found themselves knee-deep in coding by chance.

“When I started one of my first agency jobs, I had virtually no coding experience. On my first day it quickly dawned on me that as well as designing websites, I would also have to do the frontend builds (for those of you that don’t know, that’s the bit of a website that you see!). As you can imagine, it was quite a revelation. After the initial panic and somehow managing to avoid a mental breakdown, I immersed myself in code.” – Niall, Digital Designer.

Maybe you’re a coder-of-the-future but you have the initial fear that Niall experienced. Thankfully, he quickly realised that code just isn’t that scary at all! And with the government estimations that digital skills will be needed for 90% of jobs in 20 years, now is the time to face the Leap of Faith to prove that you’re The One. Plus, chances are you’ve probably got some coding experience already – ever used Giphy to send your pals the Carlton Dance GIF before a night on the tiles? Congratulations, you coded! So, coding isn’t as ‘techy’ as you think – in fact, it’s super creative.

My first real interaction with code (outside of following tutorials to make flashy signatures for internet forums) was during Uni when I discovered Macromedia Flash and was able to use the language Actionscript to control the very simple 2d animations I had designed. Using just a few lines of code I could tell the shapes to start their animation routine, stop, repeat or perform certain loops of movement when a specific action was performed by the user. This led on to many animations and basic games and a lifelong appreciation for browser-based animation. Kirsty, Digital Project Manager.

Kirsty kicked off her coding journey a little unconventionally – for her, it was browser animations that got her hooked. And although Kirsty’s attempts have disappeared into the cyberspace abyss, you can see an example of an iconic flash animation here. Looks pretty straightforward, right? What’s awesome about coding is that you don’t necessarily have to do a massive course at uni to get by. Our Head of Digital Craig (who, just because he could, created a game of naughts and crosses where the computer played back with him) wants the world to know that self-taught in programming is not a bad thing – “More and more companies are removing the requirements for degrees. As well as online resources like Codecademy there are also coding schools like Codeclan.”

Inspiration

If we’ve inspired a thirst for learning that not even an Irn Bru can quench, here’s some people and organisations that our Digital Ninjas cite as inspiring their journey.

Sara Soueidan is a front-end developer who builds websites that aren’t just full of surprise and delight, but are also expertly accessible. Her blog is a source of continuing inspiration and ideas.

Laura Kalbag has an admirable commitment to web accessibility. Her recent book “Accessibility for Everyone” is highly recommended by our Digital Team.

Bryan Cantrill, a brilliant former engineer at Sun Microsystems (they were the Dad of coding) and part of the original development team of Dtrace, he is now the CTO of Joyent and an inspiring leader as well as a regular conference speaker. Our team recommend this talk on technology leadership, and you can find his blog here.

John Culter, product evangelist at Amplitude, regularly writes about the best ways to solve user problems, build software and inspire people in his blog.

Andy Clarke founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998 — very much the dawn of The Web. His early books “Hardboiled Web Design” and “Transcending CSS” gave insights into how web development should be at a time when using ‘<table>’ for layout was the norm.

Alastair Cockburn was an original signee of the agile manifesto and writes on the approach to software development, and his Twitter is a great place to learn something new.

 

So, get ready to take the Red Pill, folks – coding is here to stay and when it comes to encouraging our followers to soak up knowledge, we are totally game! We are even giving away two Raspberry Pi’s on our social channels this week (that’s nice of us, isn’t it?). By the way, this doesn’t mean our regular office Dungeons and Dragons sessions are coming to an end – Kirsty turned us all into Werewolves and we want to see how this one turns out. But in the interest of embracing the future, coding is now more accessible than ever thanks to National Coding Week.

Anyone can code. The most important thing is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn new things.” – Craig, Head of Digital.


Psst – down here! Want to find out how you can jazz up your brand’s website, MadeBrave style? Get in touch!