Learning code

As part of completing my personal professional development plan, this year I’m seeking opportunities to develop technical skills, particularly in the online environment. The Edge at the State Library of Queensland run a number of short courses throughout the year. So far I have attended three workshops, with more I’m planning to attend in the second half of the year.

My first experiences with HTML and CSS were while completing my LIS Masters course. These skills have proven invaluable in understanding content management systems and tinkering with code for website updates in my work roles.

I’m keen to develop my skills in this area to further understand how things work from the back end and keep up to date with the possibilities for online content engagement and delivery of information services. I’m looking to potentially move my ‘other’ blog to a self-hosting set up so I can add more functionality with what I want this website to become. It also has customised WordPress theme which I would like to make alterations to the CSS. At least now after an intermediate ‘Coding for the web’ workshop, I’ll be able to understand more about what I’m looking at.

My first workshop at The Edge was an Intro to Javascript. I met up with a fellow LIS grad which made the experience a little less daunting. (Javascript is cool!) My second and third workshops have been related to coding for the web, mainly focusing on HTML and CSS. I’ll admit four hours on a Sunday arvo wasn’t the ideal time to be coding. By the end I was all ‘coded out’ and only managed to space out for the rest of the evening. But I learnt a lot.

I believe it is incredibly important for information professionals to learn the ‘lingo’ of the systems we use to manage and provide access to content, no matter the context we may find ourselves. We need not be afraid to dive in and get our hands dirty with this sort of back end stuff and keep up to date with how and what makes systems tick. It is likely librarians and other information professionals will see a possibility not seen by others. When this happens, at least we’ll have some understanding and ways of communicating what we need to make things happen for our clients.

I’d like to learn more about Javascript and SQL, as well as some other techy things related to my new found hobby, photography. The Edge will be releasing their short course calendar for the rest of the year next month. Go have a look at the list now and see what interests you. Take a friend or colleague with you to book in and get your geek on!

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  1. I have often thought about doing a course or 2 at The Edge to improve my coding skills. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. No worries, Rachel. The thought of attending workshops at The Edge was intimidating. But they’re not at all. The instructors have been really friendly and patient with learners. It’s also comforting to know you’re in the same boat as other people! I might try to attend some of the WordPress workshops later this year.

  2. Good on you for doing this! I have to say, learning SQL was probably the toughest part of my Grad Dip studies, but probably also the most useful.

    I’d love to do some of the design courses… Post PhD maybe.

  3. I agree with you in that coding can be a very useful skill for librarians to have. Not all librarians need to code but all libraries need coders! I look after the library website and when I took over the job I realised how useful it would be to know how to code. Since then I’ve been teaching myself using code academy and other online tutorials. It’s a slow process but rewarding when you see your code bring something into being!

  4. I’m interested to read about other librarians learning to code! Not all librarians need to code, but all libraries need coders, and I’ve found myself in the position of needing to learn fast… I’m looking after our library website and wish I knew more HTML and CSS, and Bootstrap and Moustache would also come in handy! I’ve been using online training sites like Codecademy and Dash to brush up. They’re fun and challenging. But when I get into customising my Library website templates I despair that I will ever be able to understand enough to really do what I want. Not to worry, I will continue on my way!

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