Intro to Coding and Design Course with Future Learn
So I needed something challenging to keep my mind off of things so I’m currently studying Intro to Coding and Design with Future Learn.
I heard about Future Learn via a friend and decided to check it out for myself. Right away I searched for a learning to code course and was happy to see that this is free and supported by The Institute of Coding and the University of Leeds.
If you’ve been a reader of the blog for a while you will know that I’ve recommended other free coding courses in the past. I’ll be using this blog post as a coding log to show my progress with the course and notes I can look back on. Hopefully it inspires you to join in or look into an online coding course too.
About the Course
There are 3 modules within this course:
- Learn to code for the web
- Computer programming for everyone
- Creating a great user experience for mobile apps
Duration: 6 weeks
Certificate: Certificate of Achievement and FutureLearn Digital Award
Each module has been set out to work at your own pace with a guideline of 2 hours per week 6 weeks total recommended learning although you can work at your own pace. There is a Certificate of Achievement for each course module which after completion of the full course you will be awarded a FutureLearn Digital Award.
Learn to code for the web
Having done some coding before I was excited to get stuck in, however there was no actual coding on day one. I did learn a few things I’d either never come across before or they just hadn’t stuck. This course is laid out nice and simply so I’m retaining the information.
Fun fact: Tim Berners – Lee is the inventor of the world wide web
DNS stands for Domain Name System
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator
Deconstructing a URL
The module on Deconstructing a URL was very helpful. I made some colour coded notes on this in my notebook so I can remember the terms. Mostly things I use everyday but never learned the proper terms for.
Coding Language Basics
Next we covered the coding language basics and their uses:
- HTML: Hypertext Markup
- CSS: Cascading Style Sheets
These are known as front-end languages which shape the user side of the website what we see, while Back-End code is behind the scenes relating to data and logic.
The course is set out for a couple of hours work per week but seeing as I want to keep up with #100DaysofCode and do a bit each day, I continued.
Today in the course video, we were reminded that coding is an important skill for anyone in tech, including Digital Marketing which is what I do.
We got hands on by inspecting the code of the Future Learn website and manipulating it via the source code and the help of the picker icon. We also focused on the rules of CSS, including what is a selector, property, declaration and value. I made some rather colourful notes on this in my book but I really liked the way it was broken down and easy to understand.
A share graphic popped up after I completed Week One of the course so of course I made a humble brag on my socials about my progress.
Today I started on Week Two of the course. I was tired and had to go workout before dinner, so I didn’t spend too much time but did read the articles and logged back in to my CodePen account, which is what we will need going forward. I was reminded of the Pikachu pen that I created about 2 years ago when I was taking the FreeCodeCamp course. 😅
Today’s task is to solve the HTML exercise for the Restaurante Alcazar website. This was exciting to actually get into CodePen and started writing some code and following the comments to make some magic on the page.
Restaurante Alcazar Website
Tables: Still confusing but getting better
Tables will forever confuse me. I don’t know whether to blame my learning difficulty dyscalculia or I just haven’t practiced it well enough. Being a WordPress user, I use blocks, widgets and stackables daily, it’s so easy to click and boom it’s done.
It was interesting to actually write the code that shows a restaurant menu in a table with prices. It took me a few tries and I did end up in W3 schools to look for examples but I got there in the end. The cells and rows were puzzling but I wrote the code out by hand in my notebook a few times to let it sink in.
This exercise made me hungry because the image used for the restaurant website was a tortilla española. 😂
After I was happy with my coding for this exercise, the course showed a video on how course tutor Tom completes it and explanations of how he did it. I really liked this and my own code wasn’t far off. At this point, I am 69% through with this part of the course. Nice.
Ah day 5 and I was feeling like a hot mess. I had stomach ache so I didn’t work on the course, but I did join in with the #CodeNewbie twitter chat and set my intentions for the week ahead. I intend on completing this section of the course this week. I also dabbled in handwritten code, going over tables as I feel like writing it out helps me retain the information.
Today was almost a no go to, but I told myself I’d have a go at the CSS exercise for the Restaurante Alcazar website. A bit of styling really improved it but I had trouble following the instructions for the flexbox that is supposed to show 3 divs at the bottom of the site.
Maybe it’s because I’m tired and still feeling a bit off from yesterday but I just couldn’t get it and I had to watch the tutorial video to see where I was going wrong. I wasn’t far off but I wouldn’t have figured it out by myself.
I got there in the end and managed to complete activity two, hopefully I can finish up this part of the course tomorrow.
WordPress really is the easiest way to create a restaurant website but it’s great to be able to work with the code.
I went over DOCTYPE declaration and then watched the video from Naomi Sharif who works in eCommerce, she explained about her day to day as a professional web dev.
After that I was ready to take the end of unit test which I scored 100%! Woohoo! I now have a certificate of achievement for this part of the course.
Days Eight, Nine, Ten
Guess who took a break from 100 Days Of Code? Haha, yep me. I know some people like to go back to day 1 when this happens but I find that very demotivating personally, so my 100 days of code is going to be more like 120 days of code. LOL.
I have a very legit reason for my absence. We were dog sitting the most adorable pup and just wanted to enjoy our time, especially since losing Rambo a couple of months ago. I think it’s important to take a break from the screens too even if it’s just to take a nap, chat with a friend or play with your dog.
After a quick gloat over my shiny new certificate, I decided to start the next unit of this course, Computer Programming for Everyone. That sounds positive, so let’s dive in!
Computer Programming for Everyone
Here’s what’s on the course map for the next 2 weeks, or however long it takes to complete.
- Summarise key developments in the advent of computer technology.
- Identify where algorithms are used in the real world.
- Describe the features and advantages of text-based coding languages.
- Discuss the roles and responsibilities involved in making software.
- Solve basic block-language programming exercises.
- Solve more advanced block language exercises with expressive solutions.
I was excited to get stuck into some computer history, with fun quizzes and facts.
Did you know? Charles Babbage designed the first general purpose computer in the 1830’s!
A lazy Sunday but I was raring to go and joined in with the CodeNewbie Twitter chat. I set my intentions for the week:
Goal: To complete the full Intro to Coding and Design Course by next weekend.
So I spent the day under the air con learning some major milestones in computing. I found it fascinating to learn about tech through the ages including some important Women In Tech like Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton. I’ll definitely be doing some further reading on these ladies.
It got me thinking about tech advances which have the most impact on my life.
The iPhone by far has the most impact as it allows me to stay in contact with my family (who live in a different country) and is a huge part of daily life working as a Digital Marketer, Blogger and Social Media Manager.
Being able to create content on the fly and having that privilege of online access is something that we take for granted. Even those days when social media gets a bit much, I think I’d feel very cut off from the world without it.
Yeah I didn’t do any coding but I did work on 2 different WordPress sites. What can I say? Another day added on to my 100DaysOfCoding LOL.
How Can Code Solve Problems?
Yikes, as soon as I saw the word algorithm I tensed up. I needn’t have worried, we looked into simple problems such as converting Celsius into Fahrenheit which was handy.
More complex algorithms were explained such as getting from A to B on a map and the complexity the variables would add to the algorithm such as mode of transport, one way streets and so on.
Apparently writing code comes in week 2 of this module.
Problem: How to make the perfect cup of tea
Some things you need to know. I am British, but haven’t drank tea in the ‘British way’ for sometime so when we were told to list the steps to make the perfect cup of tea, I got twitchy haha. I only drink tea in the winter and I drink it black.
- Fill the kettle with water
- Get a mug
- Put teabag in mug
- When water has boiled, pour into mug
- Leave to steep
- Remove teabag
- Add milk or not
- Add sweetener or sugar or not
- Stir tea
At the end of this task we had to think about research. If more research was done before making the tea, would there be more of less options or steps.
Real World Applications of Coding
We learned about micro controllers, which are tiny reprogrammable chips and how they are used in many of our day to day electronics such as the washing machine. The input would be the dials and switches and the output the beeping when the washing load is complete. Micro controllers can also be found in Bluetooth devices.