Can we please STOP telling people coding is easy!

There’s a growing trend as governments and well-meaning organisations clue in to the massive skills gap that has been allowed to grow in IT education across the UK and around the world. The trend is the proposition that learning to code is “simple” and “easy”. In some instances this fashion has led to extremes with some providers offering you the opportunity to “learn to code in a day” or a week, month or year.

I’ll be frank, this is starting to piss me off.

Not because learning to code isn’t simple, it absolutely is in the initial stages. Not because you can’t get a good foundation in the very basics in a day or a week. No my objection to this trend is one of devaluation.

I, and many like me, have spent years, whole careers even, working on and honing our skills across a range of IT disciplines to achieve a professionally acceptable level of  competence and for a government or company to stand up and state that what has taken me nigh on my entire adult life to achieve can be managed by anyone with a week to spare? That bugs the hell out of me.

It’s not like this is being declared for any other subject. No one is proposing you can learn higher mathematics in a day, or offering you a week-long course that will result in student speaking fluent Spanish. And a lot of these subjects are considerably more static in terms of content than the world of computing. Heck, I’ve learned and relearned an entire syllabus of content time and time over as new technologies have been introduced and older methods have fallen by the wayside.

I think its time for a little honesty. Yes anyone can learn to code. Yes it’s an important skill to have and yes we should be encouraging as many people to develop this skill as possible but can we please stop telling people it’s easy, because we’re doing a disservice to both those who are starting on the journey and those who are already a long way down an infinitely long road.


* btw Coding and Code is used in this post for convenience. I agree with Clive Beal that the word has been appropriated by the media and politico and will do my best to find a suitable alternative in the future.

Look out Edinburgh… I’m coming back for more!

After my international speaking debut at SOTR last year I figured I could definitely get used to the whole ”Conference Speaker Rock Star” treatment* and submitted a couple of possible sessions for this year’s conference.

Competition was stiff – 166 talks were submitted for a total of 24 slots, all voted for by the community (with a guiding hand from the organisers).

I am therefore understandably psyched to announce that I will be presenting at this year’s Scotch on the Rocks:

Rocket Powered Ramp Up with Bower, Grunt and Yeoman

Whether you’re an agency dev who starts a new project every week or are focused on long term web project support you can benefit from the next generation of front end work-flow tools for web developers.

This whistle stop tour starts with Bower – the front end package manager – then heading via Grunt for some super work-flow, testing & packaging automation before arriving at Yeoman to tie the two together with a lovely bow leaving you happier, more productive and (possibly) better off. And if time allows, there will also be a few tips from the front lines on porting legacy projects over to make use these tools.

ColdFusion, Rails, Python, PHP or pure frontend, if you’ve using Sass, Less, jQuery or pretty much any modern web library, there’s something here for you!

SOTR 2014 runs June 5th & 6th in Edinburgh and there are still tickets available at the fantastic price of £155 (excl. VAT).

If you’ve not attended Scotch before then all I can say is this: it’s the best, 2 day web development conference in the UK (and possibly Europe) at the moment.

If you work on the web you will learn something from attending, and at that kind of price it’s something of a no brainer.

* Seriously I got given Irn Bru and everything!

Kicking off 2014 – a resolution or two…

Is it just me or did 2013 just flash by? It doesn’t seem like a 5 minutes since I was shaking off the fug of Christmas and New Years 2012!

The last 12 months have been pretty awesome for me. I’ve continued to work in an industry I simply love, met some very cool new people, strengthened ties and developed relationships with existing friends and peers and generally got my moneys worth out of the year. And while it’s been a good span over all there are always areas that are open for improvement. So here are my personal & professional resolutions for 2014 (in no particular order):

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Deputized in the Mix 112

Finally managed to get another mix done last night! It’s been a while and I’ve still got my big summer mix in the prep playlist waiting on me to actually find the time to get it sorted.

In the mean time I’ve returned to some chilled, soulful deep house stuff. Couple of absolute gems in here!

From the blurb: Back to Deep House with this latest mix including some serious funk & groove! Highlights are modern reworking of classic jazz and rock in New Day and Move Or Not and lovely vocals from Anna Naklab in Wicked Games. Tune in, chill out and kick back

Deputized in the mix – 112 by Deputized on Mixcloud

Deputized – In the Mix 111

Deputized in the mix – 111 by Deputized on Mixcloud

BOOM! Back in the mix with some serious summer bangers. An upbeat blend of electro, trad house with a twist and a couple of absolute gems.

Be sure to listen out for the epic vocals on Long Way From Home, the familiar lyrics in Mark Knight’s Your Love and some seriously dirty drops from Tiesto, Firebeatz and Cedric Gervais.

Oh and you have a bonus track – the delightful Taito which doesn’t really fit anywhere else but was to good not to slam in there.

This is high energy, bounce like it’s the summer and put your hands up in the air cos no one else cares music!

2nd Tech Tribes Talks

Last night, I had the chance to address 50 or so local techy types on the subject of the Raspberry Pi. This was as part of the 2nd series of Tech Tribes (our local geek meet) Talks.

My slides and notes are now online over at so if you’re interested, head over and take a look.

Mine was the last of three sessions including a fantastic look at BitCoin from local accountant (and BitCoin enthusiast) Jonathan Day and a brilliant review of data projection and defamation (with an online spin) from the superb Vicky Milner of Bedell Cristin a local law firm who were also kind enough to co-sponsor the event along with The Observatory.

All in all, we had a great range of speakers and a brilliant turnout (over double the numbers we managed at the last set of talks) with some serious diversity in the audience in terms of specialism / employment.

And the event was videoed so as soon as the vid is online I’ll be updating this post to include the link.

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