Coding 101

By Camille

Growing up as a member of Gen Z, I’ve been surrounded by the internet since birth. Unlike my grandparents, and even my parents, I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t just type, click, and be bombarded with a stream of answers. The onset of COVID has made technology and the internet even more relevant to daily life than I could have ever imagined. As I finished my senior year of high school from home, I began to realize just how mediocre my understanding of how it all works really is.

I decided to gain a basic understanding of what goes on behind the scenes of the hundreds of websites I’ve visited throughout my life. So, this past semester I’ve been immersed in a Web Development course through my local community college. In short, I’ve learned that things are a lot more complicated than they appear to the average user.

Studying CSS layouts

As I began to dive into the rules that govern HTML and CSS, I began to notice many similarities to my journey learning French. Instead of learning how to communicate in a foreign language with other humans, I was learning how to communicate my content and style desires to a computer. In both cases, the process begins with having to look up every other word, but eventually you start to build up a vocabulary and a comfort level.

 

A look inside my course notebook

While it was rewarding to stretch beyond my comfort zone, this semester was not without its frustrations. I had never realized the importance of a single semicolon or bracket until forgetting one and messing up my entire page, leading to a search through the code for the rogue punctuation. Working on assignments began to test not only my knowledge of the course material, but also my patience and organizational skills. By the end of the semester, I was able to pull together the things I’d learned to create a homepage for a fake travel organization that adapts to the device it’s being viewed on, whether that is a phone, tablet, or computer. As I turned in this final assignment, I felt a sense of relief that the whole thing came together without any major catastrophes, but also a hunger to go deeper into the intricacies of more complicated programming languages like Python and JavaScript.

The desktop version of my final webpage