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There comes a time in everybody’s life, when suddenly everything becomes crystal clear, and everything makes perfect sense. In fact, this happens on a number of occasions but I don’t think we pay much attention to it, or we simply blink and it’s gone!

One of those moments hit me on the weekend of 7th & 8th Nov, 2015, in a town not too far out of Nelson, NZ. There was a “Rails Girls Motueka” event, organised by wonderful volunteers, Jo, Charlie and Kate, and a whole bunch of awesome people who simply made the workshop just brilliant!

Now, I must make it clear that I’m not a programmer, coder or a developer. Some of the topics at the workshop – Learning Ruby, Learning Rails, Problem-solving with Software, Design Fundamentals, GitHub, the Robot Game, Bug Squishing, World Domination with Ruby and Front-End Fantasticness, were a little bit out of my comfort zone. What made it one of those Eureka moments for me was the fact that anyone, at any age, can actually learn to code!

I was having some doubts prior to the workshop. In fact, I felt a bit like the wombat in the RSPCA commercial – Should I go? Is it for me? Am I not too old for this? Really? Not to mention having a head full of cold. But, I heard there was going to be food, yummy food, so I thought I’d give it a try! I also have a very supportive family! My husband & son actually dropped me off at Motueka in the morning, then explored the sights, and finished the day by picking me up from MoTEC. How could I say no?

Going back to the ‘light bulb going off’ moment, I came to the realisation that coding is hard, and it’ll probably be hard for a long time. But, I’ve also come to accept that it’s not impossible to learn to code – at any age. I think the youngest participant was only 6 years old, and there were definitely others over 60!

The first step in learning anything new is to know what you don’t know. I can gladly say that I know exactly what I need to know as a result of this workshop! The first day was overwhelming but I managed to make peace with myself by accepting to go with the flow, rather than trying to make sense of every single function, code, process! I presume that’ll come through eventually, once I get my head around it all.

That was my realisation – that I can learn to code, even at my age! This would be awesome as I’ve taken on a project to develop an interactive e-book, in multi-languages. I’ve got the first 3 screens working, and have a long way to go yet. But I’ve decided to stick at it. Coding is officially my new hobby. I might change my mind, and take up knitting, but for now coding is likely to take up my ‘free’ time. Hey, it might even become an obsession!.

Thanks to all the volunteers, who gave up their weekend to share their passion with us. It has certainly rubbed off!

I’d like to write more but I need to do some coding practice – use it or lose it as they say. Coding is just like learning a new language 😉


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