Giving Back To Vancouver’s Coding Community

The coding community in Vancouver is a fantastic thing. Progressive in the truest sense of the word, it aims to move the field forward while welcoming and encouraging people not stereotypically seen as developers to help build its future.

It’s part of the reason I am so proud to call myself a developer.

I am so thankful for the wonderful mentorship I have received and now as working professional I am thankful for the opportunity to work with BCIT’s New Media and Web Development program as a code tutor.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with students, and encouraged them to take learning into their own hands by following three rules:

1. Break down every problem into it’s simplest parts:

A few students were struggling to understand and troubleshoot their code which is like trying to build the cart before the horse.

Great things are built with small testable steps that help you see your mistakes as you make them, rather than looking on a large chunk of code wondering where you went wrong.

2. Learn how to read errors and create tests around them:

Students were often left feeling frustrated and confused when their code didn’t perform.

It’s a rough feeling, but one that I could help with.

Understanding what errors their tools are outputting was the first step towards solving them. I often found encouraging students to test anything they could understand by looking at (or googling) their errors was a great start.

For example if their website couldn’t find an image at a specific location, I encouraged them to check the exact location their code was pointing to. This often lead them to finding the error.

3. Start with well supported and documented tools:

In order to deliver great sites in reasonable time and budget, we as developers use tools that other developers have given to code community. This is a great culture, but sometimes it provides code that is less than perfect and hard to understand.

Starting with well supported tools with lots of documentation means, when students hit an obstacle, there are a lot of resources they can look to for answers.

Tutoring students at BCIT has been a very rewarding experience and I can’t wait to share more with you about it.

Keep learning and keep coding.

story written by Airrick Dunfield