January 11, 2012

Intern 2.0 - Learning web programming basics

Ok, so some of you may have read the title of this post and thought "Programming?! But I'm going into the music industry! When would I ever need to do code?". It's true, you may not need to learn programming and you may never be asked to do it but in this day and age, it's a good skill to know.

Why should I learn web code?
Blogs, Portfolio/Resume websites, MySpace band pages, any website really, they all are built using code. Yes, there are plenty of WYSIWYG* services that allow you to design and build a pretty neat-looking page without any HTML or CSS knowledge on your part but you're restricted to whatever templates they've created and it's pretty much a guarantee that there will be thousands of other sites that look exactly like it. If you want some flexibility in your design or just a nifty skill that will make you stick out from other intern candidates, it's good to know some basic web code. Here is a nice list of reasons for learning basic HTML.

I use simple HTML and CSS all the time when writing blog posts because it allows me to make my content look the way I want it to. Yes, the Blogger content editor makes it easy to HTML-lessly make text bold but it can't do other things like make text red or add links that jump to the top of the post. Also, I find coding can be pretty fun sometimes. Some of my co-workers whose jobs are more focused on marketing and content management are novice coders and are proud and thrilled when they have enough HTML knowledge to make changes without any assistance from developers (And I'm using this as proof that the fact that I think coding can be fun is not just because I'm weird).

But it'll take me FOREVER to learn!
Calm down. Breathe. It's ok. You don't need to become a programming wizard or anything. Just being able to look at pre-coded HTML and understand what it means is enough to be quite useful even if you can't code from scratch. Getting this basic understanding of web code really doesn't take that long at all! You just need a little patience and some nice, clear tutorials. I've listed a couple sites below for you to get started.

  • W3Schools - Tutorials, quizzes, and "Try it yourself" editors for just about any web programming language you could want to know
  • Code Academy - Interactive tutorials, achievements to unlock, and weekly lessons emailed to you if you sign up for Code Year

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer
khazard@internlikearockstar.com | @katie_hazard

* WYSIWYG - 'What you see is what you get'; a user interface that displays content while it's being edited that closely resembles the final product.