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July 22, 2013, 12:08 p.m.
LINK: veltman.tumblr.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 22, 2013

On his Tumblr, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow Noah Veltman writes about feeling that he’s not quite a developer.

The notion that code is this hyperspecialized thing, scary punctuation soup on a dark screen, something that someone else does, is wrong, and it’s toxic.

There are people all over the world who don’t consider how code might help them do their job, because they think it’s a big leap. It’s not. It’s thousands of tiny steps, and everyone takes them in a different direction. A little bit of code goes a long way.

People who do flirt with the idea of learning to code often get discouraged quickly. They get stuck, they get frustrated, and they look at the cool things that “real developers” are doing and decide that will never be them, so why bother? Well guess what? We were all that person. We are all STILL that person. We all get stuck. We’re all figuring it out as we go along. Welcome to the club…

What I love most about coding in the newsroom is that the artificial divide between coders and everyone else is weak and getting weaker. Every day brilliant, passionate reporters and designers are waking up to the ways that code can help them find and tell stories, and developers are getting better at thinking as journalists. Philosophy majors are writing Rails apps and Java developers are doing investigative reporting.

As someone who was running through Backbone and Node tutorials last night, I’m feeling ya. Also, I love this: “Like Lorne Michaels said about Saturday Night Live, ‘the show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.'”

If you’re a journalist interested in understanding more about code, I really recommend Noah’s Learning Lunches on GitHub.

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