We caught up with Manchester-based tutor Izzi to find out how she got into coding, what it's like working at Northcoders, and hear her advice for anyone who wants to learn to code!
What got you interested in learning how to code?
I’ve always been interested in a real mix of areas and topics, so in school and at college I couldn’t decide between doing typical science subjects and humanities. I knew that there were aspects of each that I liked. I wanted to do something with logical processes and problem-solving, as well as being expressive and creative, which is why it made total sense that I loved coding when I started learning!
What surprised you most about learning to code?
It’s so addictive! I’ve lost count of how many coding dreams I’ve had and how many mini breakthroughs I’ve had while doing completely unrelated activities like brushing my teeth. I was also really pleasantly surprised at how creative coding lets you be, both in the sense of making aesthetically pleasing websites and in the sense that you can literally create things from nothing. You can start the day with an entirely blank screen and a few hours later have something tangible that actually does something. That’s a great feeling!
What does your job involve?
The exact things differ from day to day but I’ll always spend some time going round and helping the students with their code, whether that be leading them to find why an error is occurring, or talking through the concepts and showing the best practices.
On some days I’ll also be doing lectures for the block that I’m supporting. We are constantly trying to update and improve our curriculum based on student feedback, so I also contribute to that.
What do you love most about working at Northcoders?
One of my favourite things about working here is that I get to teach and interact with such a diverse group of people. It makes every day a bit different and it’s really useful to see different perspectives. I also really enjoy meeting up with my mentees and love being able to see their progress throughout the course.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to learn to code but doesn't know where to start?
Often, the best way to learn something is to just try it out. If the theory seems hard to grasp, sometimes just having a go – playing around with the code and trying it in different situations is enough to make the theory feel more real and less mysterious.
Everyone has different learning styles. For me, I found it easiest when I was ‘learning by doing’ so doing katas on CodeWars worked well because I could play around with the code and each kata was a small, attainable goal. Don’t get discouraged if you find things difficult. Take a breather, leave the screen for a while and come at it with fresh eyes.
Do you have a favourite go-to resource for everything coding related?
I am a big fan of using articles on Medium to explain any concepts I’m struggling with or maybe to guide me through any tricky installation processes. freeCodeCamp has some really great articles. Sometimes you have to sift through the blog posts to find the relevant ones, but so many of the articles lead you through concepts in an engaging and interesting way. I find it best when they use real-life metaphors to explain abstract concepts.
Finish this sentence: When I'm not working at Northcoders I'm...
Probably getting the train out to the countryside or trying to find some more local pockets of greenery to satisfy my cravings for a bit of nature!
Learn to code with Northcoders
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Izzi and her work at Northcoders. If you're just starting out and want to learn some coding essentials, sign up for our beginners evening coding course, Introduction to Programming. Available every month in Manchester and Leeds, you'll learn all about some key programming concepts with support from our friendly teaching team.