Whether you’re a small business owner, managing your own website or you’re trying your hand at coding as a hobby, joining a community is a great idea. Why? They offer you the support you’ll need when troubleshooting challenging problems. Coding is an important skill to have – but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. The good news is you’re not alone.
Learning to code gives you technical knowledge but it also gives you a new way of approaching your work or business. And it’s becoming an increasingly sought-after skill as the world continues to move towards digital transformation.
The South African coding landscape
OfferZen’s 2021 State of the Software Developer Nation recent survey highlighted the importance of coding skills in a world that is continually shifting.
“Whether it’s the family-owned grocery store quickly adapting to offering online ordering or an ‘eat at home’, tech is making businesses antifragile,” Malan Joubert, OfferZen co-founder and CEO, said in the report.
According to the developers surveyed, coding is often seen as a creative discipline that most developers like to explore outside of their day job. Interestingly, only one-fifth of coders have a university degree. Coding makes it possible for people to create computer software, apps and websites, and helps us communicate with devices, like our phones. It’s becoming increasingly important as we find ourselves more reliant on the internet and constantly surrounded by electronic devices.
Learning to code could help further your career or get that side hustle off the ground. So, where do you start?
- Code Space runs courses that include an intro to the web, software development, frontend and backend development.
- Codecademy offers interactive learning, with a wide range of free online courses.
- Project CodeX offers a full-time, one-year coding programme in Cape Town.
- Code College runs several coding boot camps, designed to help you find a programming job.
- Udemy has a range of affordable online coding courses that you can do in your time and at your own pace.
Why you should join a coding community
Recent times may have changed the way people interact, but the coding community remains as connected as ever. Whether you’re a beginner, have some experience or you’re a fully-fledged developer, joining a coding community offers a (virtual) safe space to ask questions. Here you’ll find like-minded coders who are eager to help, offer advice and share different perspectives on resolving common issues.
Coding communities also:
- Share important information
- Teach tips and tricks, no matter your level of experience
- Share useful resources, talks and research papers
- Organise meetups
Collaboration through community
Coding communities welcome everyone. Whether you’d like to learn to code so you can make changes to your website or you’re looking for some coding support, here are a few online communities you can join.
- WordPress Meetups
What it’s about: These meetups are locally organised groups that get together for events regularly, usually once a month. They benefit the WordPress community as a whole, not specific businesses or individuals. When they can’t be held in person, these events are moved online.
Who it’s for: Anyone who works with – or would like to work with – WordPress.
How to join: You can find meetups to join in Cape Town, Joburg and Pretoria.
What it’s about: Codebridge is run by OpenUp, a non-profit organisation. They’re made up of a community of professionals who range from programmers, activists and data analysts to designers and storytellers
Who it’s for: Anyone who is keen to collaborate with like-minded people on social change projects.
How to join: There are two Codebridge labs – one in Cape Town, one in Durban.
- Ladies that Code
What it’s about: This community aims to teach women to code. Ladies that Code believes one of the biggest barriers women face entering the tech industry is that they feel intimidated by the technicality of the work.
Who it’s for: Women of any age and skill level, interested and willing to try, are welcome to join their meetups.
How to join: Regular sessions are scheduled on Meetup.
- Front-end Development South Africa (FEDSA)
What it’s about: FEDSA serves as an administrative umbrella for various types of projects that advance the sharing of knowledge between the coder and aspiring coder. They hope that by encouraging South African coders to share their experiences more openly and honestly, they’ll contribute to a richer, more accessible and user-centred web experience for all South Africans.
Who it’s for: Anyone who is interested in supporting the advancement and accessibility of front-end development in South Africa.
How to join: Regular sessions are scheduled on Meetup.
- The Artificial Intelligence South Africa Meetup
What it’s about: This meetup is dedicated to helping the technical and business community learn more about AI and get hands-on experience with AI development, research, and execution.
Who it’s for: Anyone who is interested in AI, from beginners to experts.
How to join: Regular sessions are scheduled on Meetup, and include expert talks, tutorials for beginners, and discussions around pressing topics in AI.
Need coding support?
Already proficient in coding? There’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re looking for global support, consider joining Stack Overflow. This online platform helps 100 million people monthly to share their knowledge, collaborate and help build careers.
As the world becomes more digitally focused, having the necessary coding know-how will ensure you don’t get left behind.