Girl Geek Dinner becomes RefactorNZ & musings about coding

Yes, this is completely shocking, i’ve not blogged yet this year, and it is nearly the END of February! I guess I’ve contained the rant so far!

I’ve just come back from yet another awesome Girl Geek Dinner, wait scratch that, it is now Refactor NZ! And it is as awesome as it ever was! (This is from someone who used to go to these things years ago, simply because there was a goodie bag with cool gear from Dick Smiths, so you know…)

I met a few people who were developers, and some that are not. I heard about the amazing Steam Ahead and I randomly bumped into a friend from Code Club.

It was an awesome event, and it has sparked a new vigour into me that I’ve not felt in a while.

At work, I’ve been working on the outskirts of a web redesign project. As it is nowadays, these things are taken care of by the Digital Comms team. As the resident geek, I’m only in charge of whether or not the UX components talk to the backend database. The redesign team is primarily interested in the UX functionality of the front end and, lets be honest here, whether it’ll be pretty or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally ♥ the project lead and in fact, we’ve become close friends during this whole thing, but something hasn’t sat quite right with me. It’s not even a criticism of the project, I think it is more a criticism of where the whole digital/web world has gone.

The coders are disappearing. They are being replaced by artists and UX designers. We (the collective, public we) nod back to the history of the internet being a way for geeks to communicate with each other between universities and military institutions and then quickly take a deep breath and say “well aren’t we glad that myspace, bebo, facebook and twitter are here? the internet isn’t for the geeks anymore”. The days are gone where to code a website, you needed to know how to code. I learnt three different languages just to make a plain blank page that says “Hello World” (ok yes, I know, that is an exaggeration but 😛 it’s my blog)

I thought recently that I might want to get into this whole digital marketing thing a bit more, I like writing, I like tweeting, I like communicating to people, but I think what has been missing in my life is the code. I miss coding. I miss the days where websites could be fixed up by editing the source.

Of course I’m not completely right. I meet people every day (hai there Vend people and Orion people and Catalyst people and Microsoft people that I know) that code for a living, and the multitude of initiatives I’m involved in (or want to be involved in) are to encourage more children into coding because we need more! But I feel that the coders are being forced to hide behind designers, that it isn’t enough you have a good functional product these days, it has to look pretty as well, not only that, the back end users won’t learn to code to use it, they will need a pretty backend that is also easy to use. AND this is the bit that sits funny in my gut.

So i’m gonna leave it there, i’m gonna continue teaching Dylan (my Mr7) how to code, and I’m gonna attempt to reroute this disquiet into something more productive.