Popping a Wheelie

One of my favorite podcasts is Reuben Ingber’s How to Hold a Pencil.  He continues to deliver interesting interviews with web designers and developers with a focus on how they got started and how they learned the skills they have today.

I highly recommend it to my fellow coding beginners.

I was listening to his latest episode with Aubrey Johnson and heard them talk about an issue I faced when I began learning how to code.  And still do to some extent.

Aubrey called it a “Pop a Wheelie” moment.  He went on to explain that when he was so excited to learn to code and his motivation was at its highest the problem with the resources he was using was they showed you the basics of how to ride a bike – whichis boring if not terrifying in my opinion – when they need to show you how to pop a wheelie.

I couldn’t agree more.

Software is eating the world and there is a huge gap between what companies need (more programmers) and what those learning to code need (some inspiration) and if we solve the second problem we just might start solving the first.

I’m not arguing that every new student of code needs to think they are the next internet hero, but if code is beautiful beginners need to see how that beauty can come from them if they learn the skills to master it.

The wheelie might not get us through the dark times (and here I equate dark times to searching for that missing ; or ? or / or #), but it would help stoking that passion when it is most needed – in the beginning of our journey.

I’m still trying to learn to ride the coding bike, but I know I have a few wheelies in me and I think Threehouse and Codecademy and CodeSchool and Skillshare and all the rest would be well served to remember that a small push in the beginning can pay huge dividends down the road.  For them and their wheeling-searching students.



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