Baby Steps into Tech

By Melanie Chongolola-Nestor

Melanie here. As you may know I’m the newest member of the YIKES team, and my experience in tech before joining YIKES was pedestrian at best. I’ve never had a problem navigating my own personal path through the internet; I have a LinkedIn, Instagram, iPhone, I’m a former Facebook and Twitter user. I’ve always known which app to use to get what I wanted from the internet, and I can download and upload with the best of them.

My role as Account Manager and Office Administrator for YIKES is to handle our clients’ accounts, make sure the day-to-day operations of the office run smoothly and ensure that the developers and web designers have what they need to get their jobs done. But how could I join such a dynamic office and not want to learn more about web design and development?

So I’m rolling up my sleeves and diving into the world of code. Gives you the chills, no? On one hand there is a specific framework that you must master if you want what you created to work, but on the other there is virtually no limit to what you can design online. If you can imagine it, I’m sure there is a way to code it.

So that’s the best way to begin? I’ll share with you what YIKES has given me thus far.

Online learning:  Treehouse is a great place to begin. The courses are taught by professionals from all over the country and you can learn at your own pace, and follow your own curriculum. There are loads of reference resources throughout the videos and transcripts, and an online community to ask questions and seek answers.

Casual classes: is the newest site in my vernacular. From the meetup site you can find similar interest groups in your region, sign up for classes taught by local professionals and find other people with the same level of understanding as you. Here are the best groups for Tech in the Philadelphia area (you may have to make a profile to view all of the links to groups below).

  • #TechinColor: Meets to mix, mingle, and network among Philadelphia’s vast and diverse technology community.
  • WordPress Philly: Meetings cover a variety of topics including WordPress usage, designing WordPress Themes and styles, creating WordPress Plugins and Widgets, and using WordPress to its full potential.
  • Philly: Events explore how the local tech community is impacting job growth/retention, digital access/education and government/policy reform in Philadelphia.
  • Tech in Motion: A place for technology professionals who wouldn’t normally cross paths to meet, collaborate, and learn about what their peers are doing across the city

Networking events: Philly Tech Week is a great place to meet people. Depending on where you live, networking events can be every day and plenty. Check with the local tech companies and universities to find out if there are any events open to the public. Local entities, like libraries, often host public events too. But if you’re really far out in the sticks the next option is the closest thing to face-to-face meetings.

Social media: Twitter has become the first page for the internet. News breaks on Twitter, gossip starts on Twitter, and people make-up and break-up on Twitter. But Twitter isn’t just celebrity drama and navel-gazing. A lot of tech leaders and tech companies will announce events, job postings, share relevant articles and connect with new talent on Twitter. I guess it’s time for me to dust off my old Twitter handle and join the coding revolution.

Good luck! And remember to have fun.

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