Welcome to Code Like a Girl, where you'll get started on the adventure of coding with cool projects and step-by-step tips, from the co-author of the bestselling The Daring Book for Girls.
Coding is about creativity, self-expression, and telling your story. It's solving problems and being curious, building things, making the world a better place, and creating a future. It's about you: whoever you are, wherever you're at, whatever you want.
Nearly everything you encounter on a screen is made from code. You see, with code you can have an idea and put it into action: it's your voice and your vision. From the outside, tech and code may seem puzzling and mysterious, but when you get through the door and past the first few beginner steps and your code starts to work, it feels like magic.
In this book, you'll learn how to:
- Code with Scratchprojects like making a dog walk through the park, sending your friend a card, and devising a full-scoring game!
- Build your own computerreally!
- Create your own digital fortune-teller, with the Python language.
- Make your own smartphone gloves.
- Make light-up bracelets.
- Code a motion sensor that tells you when someone enters your room.
- And lots more!
About the Author
Miriam Peskowitz is the co-author of The Daring Book for Girls. She is the mother of two girls and has been a camp counselor, a historian, a blogger, a musician, and a professor. She is the author of several books, including The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars. Follow her on Twitter at @MiriamPeskowitz.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to girl tech world, where we’re going to learn some code.
Technology and code are about creativity, self-expression and telling your story. They’re about solving problems, being curious, giggling with glee, building things, making the world a better place and creating the future. They’re about you: whoever you are, wherever you’re at, whatever you want.
Nearly everything you see on a screen is made from code: games, animation, texting, social media, websites, apps, Netflix and the whole entire Internet. All of it comes from code, programmed by real people using lots of different coding languages. That’s why code is so awesome and powerful.
You see, code is about having an idea and putting it into action. It’s about your voice and your vision. From the outside, tech and code may seem puzzling and mysterious, but when you get through the door and past the first few beginner steps and your code starts to work, I tell you, it feels like magic.
When I ask coders and programmers and tech artists why they love what they do, that’s exactly what they tell me: it feels like magic. Something didn’t exist in the world, and now because of your code, it does. Sure, it’s a struggle when your code isn’t yet working right, but then, finally, the run works, the app launches, the design sparkles, the electronic music springs to life. You’re a creator—you built something—and it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. What’s ahead is a journey into tech and code. What’s code, really? Directions we use to tell machines what to do. Code comes in different languages, each having its own rules, twists and turns. The good thing? Most languages share the same basic concepts.
We’re all beginners here, so I’ll let you in on a secret: in tech, the first few steps are the hardest.
Why is that?
Well, first, things will never again be as bewilderingly unfamiliar as they are right now. There are so many new names and concepts, many of which are downright mystifying.
Second, often at the start there’s a lot of rigmarole. Signing up. Making new usernames and passwords. Connecting between websites. Downloading programs, not to mention just staring at the screen and wondering what to do next.
Come on in and join our journey. I’ll show you the first steps into different types of tech and code, and then point you toward learning more. The Internet is filled with video tutorials, free online coding classes and directions for every language of code, even to program both monsters and party dresses from LED lights. It’s not so good, though, at providing enough context to get beginners going. That’s my job: to get you through the beginning and show you how enchanting all of this is, so the classes and video tutorials will make sense.
I’ll also give you a heads-up about where things get hard, so when you experience them, you’ll know it’s not just you.
What’s on the path ahead? Projects and more projects. Games built from the languages Scratch and Python. Animations, podcasts and programs that roll dice and tell stories. We’ll poke around a super-secret place called a Terminal, and put together a Raspberry Pi computer; it will have Minecraft built in—so get ready to be creative. We’ll take apart electronic toys and gadgets, craft do-it-yourself lanterns and felt bracelets with LED lights, program LEDs to turn on and off, and turn a picture frame into a glass whiteboard for your room. The finale? A motion detector that sends you an email alert if someone enters your room while you’re at school. Really.
We’ll build, tinker, hack and code in our own way.
Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about coding or technology. We’ll start with the basics. Push open the doors of a new and vibrant world, where you never know what’s coming down the pike. Many of the programmers I met while writing this book told me they taught themselves to code with books and online tutorials. They shared stories about what they learned first, what they gave up on and how they tried again. Some went to college, sure. Others apprenticed with a developer and learned on the job. Many learned with friends. There are endless ways in.
Welcome aboard. Tech is an amazing journey, and I’m so glad you’re here.
Wishing you creativity and confidence and joy.