Things to know before beginning?

I would love to organize an adult coding club in my rural community, but not everyone has tech skills. What should they know before signing up? I want it to be accessible for beginners, but I don’t want to tell people they don’t need any prior knowledge, because that is rarely ever the case.

What should I know before setting up a club like this? we want to get more people interested in tech careers!

I would say that you should be comfortable with:

  • using browsers (knowing that there are different ones, making sure their browsers are updated, knowing what the word “extension means”, etc)
  • using search engines and doing online research
  • finding software tools (not falling for malicious DOWNLOAD HERE links, etc) and trying them out without step-by-step instructions

That’s what I can come up with off the top of my head. Other than that, it’s mostly attitude. You need curiosity, patience, and a willingness to learn from failure.

googling is pretty useful, being able to search stuff that you don’t know.

some problem solving skills - but those with a bit more effort can be developed doing the curriculum and after, just continuing to practice

being able to type is also pretty necessary, as the curriculum is interactive and expect stuff to be written in there

basic English comprehension skill (but the curriculum is also being translated in Spanish and Chinese)

grith, as frustration is common in programming, and not stopping because of frustration is necessary to succed

the curriculum starts from the basics of coding, but it is not designed to be comprehensive of everything, so some curiosity to find other sources for the aspects of the language that the curriculum doesn’t teach, and for what is explained in a way not compatible with one own learning style

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thank you for writing this out! Can you give an example of the software tools that one might download?

Thank you! This is super helpful. Grith is important, but sometimes hard to teach and encourage!

There aren’t any particular tools I’d suggest for a newbie besides a web browser. I just meant that they should have the technical literacy and comfort to find them. Some technologies that you learn will require installs, but also they’ll eventually want things like text editors, IDEs, API call tools, etc.

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I think it makes a lot of sense to change the narrative a little bit:

  • less about tech skills they need (it’s easy to teach someone how to download an editor)
  • more about the soft skills they need:
    • being okay that stuff doesn’t work immediately
    • not giving up
    • asking questions is good
    • you are not competing with other participants
    • you are there to learn, not to get a “certificate”
    • you have to do the work, not simply consume content

I also recommend to ask questions in the “requirements”:

  • Not so good:

    • You can use a browser.
    • You know how the internet works.
    • (These statements are very subjective, what does that actually mean?).
  • Better:

    • Do you know how to open a browser?
    • Do you know how you can download a program from the internet?
    • Do you know how you can install a program you just downloaded to your PC?

This is super helpful. I like how you framed the questions in a more specific way. Thank you!