The Blog

Coder Confessional: Do you need to be a genius to code?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Read more and subscribe to I'm A Girl Who Codes

My dad has been in the tech industry since I was a little girl. I thought he was superman in disguise as my dad and often referred to him as a "computer genius." Genius was the key word.

I scored far higher on my math SATs than my verbal SATs but always thought of myself as a creative and humanities type of student. I could never be a "computer genius" like my dad. When I placed into an honors math class my freshman year of college, I thought that there was no place for me in the class as an intended performance arts and journalism major.

Some - or many - years have passed and I am one week into learning to code. With technology as a professional and personal lifeline, I feel an obligation to learn.

These are the top ten ways I rely on technology day-in and day-out:

  1. My cell phone alarm clock
  2. Facetime to call my "computer genius" dad on the opposite coast
  3. Duolingo to learn Spanish
  4. Keeping up with friends on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat
  5. Watching all of the things on Netflix
  6. Getting around on Lyft
  7. Listening to all of my favorite artists on Spotify and iTunes (Taylor Swift)
  8. Working for Girls Who Code from anywhere with my Gmail app
  9. Walking from point A to point B with Google maps
  10. Paying my credit card bill

and many many more...

I've not yet become completely reliant on Siri but I anticipate her playing a larger role in my life in the coming years. As much as I try to cut technology out of my life, the reality is that it's not going anywhere and I need it to function on a daily basis.

So, back to learning to code...

As I start my journey into learning to code, the image of my father as the "computer genius," is at the forefront of my mind. Of course my father is a genius in my opinion, but do you need to be an actual genius to learn to code?

The answer is no.

All you need is a willingness to try and a good sense of humor.

In my first "Intro to Javascript" lesson, I created the snowman below.

It's beautiful, right?

Okay, so it's not that beautiful but I created it just by typing 15 lines of letters and numbers, known as code. These lines all are very specific directions for the computer. It's like giving the computer a recipe to make, but this recipe has no shopping or clean-up involved. While it doesn't result in food, it does result in an image that you can share with you family and friends.


Creating this not-so-beautiful snowman with code was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I felt smart, capable and challenged. I can't wait for my next lesson and to one day have the ability to create something that will make my daily life easier.

I'd love to hear about your experiences learning to code, bust myths you've heard about coding and answer your questions about what it's like being a girl who codes. Email me your questions at!

Popular in the Community