What is Why I code?

Coding has the potential of opening any door for any passion, whether be it art, music, social justice, health – anything! The incredible Code4CT alumnae and coding professionals featured on this page challenge stereotypes and push boundaries. They are not afraid to wield the power of code to pursue their dreams. After reading their stories it almost becomes impossible not to ask yourself, why don’t I code?

THE FREEDOM TO CREATE

Malyka Rashaad

My favourite part of coding is the brainstorming at the beginning of a project. You have the most freedom during this time to think of the wackiest ideas; even if some could never work, the possibilities seem endless. I code because I want to bring the limitless freedom of design and creativity to the world of technology. It’s human nature to only make time for things that are appealing to the eye. That’s where I come in. I make tech look pretty and bring the human desire for beauty into the code.

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The Work Pays Off

Being a woman in the tech industry is something that I’m very proud of because you don’t see a lot of us. Coding is the most powerful weapon for women to wield in combating the stigma that we cannot succeed in the tech world. The fact of the matter is, girls who work hard at coding will be just as successful, if not more successful, than boys doing the same. The biggest lesson I learned at CodeSpace Academy was that the work pays off. There were points during the programme where I felt like I couldn’t handle it because the material was too hard. I couldn’t wrap my head around the concepts. I found that if I just sat down, relaxed, and thought through it, I could do it. Anyone can do it. At the end of the day, if you put the work in, it will show in your code and the computer can’t tell if the person writing is a boy or a girl.

Defying Restrictions

CodeSpace and Code4CT made me realize that I don’t want to restrict my life based on what other people think I should be doing. With code and design, I’m free to go anywhere and do anything. Without code, I would have been forced to follow a designated path through life, because I wouldn’t have been exposed to a plan B, a plan C, or even a plan D. Code4CT helped me define my own path, where my creativity can thrive.

Malyka’s Path to UI/UX Design

  • Went to Claremont High School
  • Studied at Code4CT
  • Studied Web Development at CodeSpace Academy
  • Pursuing a Bachelor’s of Technology in Visual Communication

TAKING CHARGE OF MY FUTURE

Thembeka

 

I’m a person that likes to be in control. I don’t like being told what to do. With coding, I am the master of every step of the process. I tell the computer what I want and it does exactly that. Code4CT exposed me to a future in which I can be in charge every step of the way, I just have to be curious enough to learn how to do it.

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Never Stop Learning

It was my burning curiosity to understand the Internet and phone applications that made me want to start coding; it was the realization that coding allows you to learn something new every single day that made me stick with it. Coding offers the most incredible experience of being stunned that you can create something entirely new and then immediately wanting to do more, to know more. The key is understanding that learning takes time and to not get frustrated when it looks like the people around you are moving faster than you. So many times I’ve felt I wasn’t good enough because I was still learning front-end coding while my peers had already moved on to back-end. What helped me was recognizing that I was taking the time to understand everything in depth so that, if I had to, I could explain it to anyone. My journey is my journey, their journey is their journey. We may do things differently, but all I need to know at the end of the day is that I’m producing good work.

Code4Change

When I look around at tech events that are meant to inspire people to pursue IT, I’m irked by the fact that the people sitting around me are, one, already in tech fields and, two, are mostly men. They’re getting inspired to do what they’re already doing. What about women? What about people who aren’t in the tech industry; the ones who want to be inspired but don’t know where to start? The ones that, if they were exposed, would jump and RUN to these events? These are the questions that I want to address. I want to create a company that hosts events in Khayelitsha, in Langa, in Guglethu, and in all the townships that make up the majority of Cape Town in order to show girls that the tech industry is accessible to them too. The fact that I know how to code enables me to know that anyone else can do it too. It’s not hard, you just have to be curious enough. I want to be the one that starts that flame of curiosity in girls, to show them that tech has the potential to change their lives.

Thembeka’s Path to UI/UX Design

  • Went to COSAT
  • Studied at Code4CT
  • Studied Web Development at CodeX
  • Working at RLabs on the UN Women website

LIMITLESS CREATIVITY

Azraa Vally

 

“Coding has taught me how to dream bigger. It has changed my perspective and my way of thinking. I no longer think inside the box, or even outside the box, but I think as if there is no box. Because when you code there is no limit to what you can create.”- Azraa Vally

THE COMPUTER WHISPERPER

Kukhanya

I fell in love with coding because it allows me to speak a language only a computer can understand. I have the incredible ability to tell a computer, the most powerful machine in the world, to do exactly what I want it to do. My goal is to help put this power into the hands of other young girls like myself. I want to empower them with the confidence to enter the male-dominated world of IT and help make our world simpler by teaming up with computers.

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Constantly Improving

I love coding, even with all of its headaches and sleepless nights, because it’s from the biggest challenges that you learn the biggest lessons. The largest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is finding peace with the fact that, with code, you’re never truly finished. It can always be modified and improved. I’ve expanded this lesson into life on a broader scale. Coding taught me that you can always reinvent yourself and constantly look for ways to improve. There is always another language that I can learn and another approach I had never even considered. With every new discovery, I know that I, and my code, can only get better.

No Right Answer

With code, there is always more than one solution for every problem. The same is true of life. I know that one day I want to be web programmer and be able to code my way through any scenario. I could have gone to university and gotten a degree to get there. Instead, I chose to go to study web development at ORACLE Academy, because that’s what made the most sense for me. Code4CT exposed me to the world in which success can be found outside of the norm. It is possible to achieve what you want and become the person you want to be without studying a core subject at a university.

Kukhanya’s Path to Web Programming

  • Went to Cape Academy of Maths, Science, and Technology
  • Studied at Code4CT
  • Studying Web Development at ORACLE Academy

CODING SMART SOLUTIONS

Kholiswa Ntshinga

 

I code because I love solving problems. I like to think of coding as being presented with a blank canvas problem and experimenting with the best, easiest, and fastest approach to turn that blank canvas into a beautifully crafted and efficient solution. With code, there is always the opportunity to be both creative and innovative.

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21st Century Innovator

I believe the challenges the world is facing now will be solved by young women who, like me, are passionate about coding. After finishing my internship at LightSwitch Solutions, I’ve decided to pursue opportunities in which I’ll get to learn the most groundbreaking technological industry that exists for coders today: artificial intelligence. I’m interested in AI because it has the capacity to make people’s lives better. These are the projects I have always been passionate about and want to dedicate my time to in the future: the ones that help people.

She Can Do It

I went to a science and math high school where girls held their own in biology and maths, but the boys dominated IT. After joining Code4CT and being in an environment where ONLY girls could dominate the coding, my confidence skyrocketed.

The moment girls start coding it’s already ingrained in their minds that “boys are supposed to be doing this.” My biggest lesson was that if I could just tell myself that I was in the right place, it became clear to me that I was made for this industry just as much as boys are. It is my own, as much as they claim it is their own. At my previous job, I was the only girl amongst 17 guys. I found that the moment you get the self-assurance that “I can do this”, that is when everyone else will think “she can do it.”

Kholiswa’s Path to AI Software Developer

  • Went to COSAT High School
  • Studied at Code4CT
  • Studied Web Development at CodeSpace Academy
  • Worked as a junior developer at LightSwtich Solutions in 2017

CODING SUPERHERO

Mandisa Dlubom

 

The entire world revolves around technology, and coding is what brings technology to people. I code because I want to be one of the superheroes that uses technology to help people by improving customer experience with helpful chatbots, connecting communities through social media, or spreading messages of beauty through websites.

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Solution Driven

With coding, you have to think of a solution. Too many people in this country spend all of their energy finding and describing our problems, but do absolutely nothing about them. The purpose of coding is to take a problem, plan how to solve it, and then actually reach that solution. That’s why I love coding. I love being a solution finder in a world of problems. When you’re coding something, you have to understand every aspect of the program, because all of it is interconnected. As in the real world, there are no shortcuts in coding. So when I finish a project and present it to people, I’m proud of my work. I’m proud of myself. Having the ability to code means having the ability to conquer obstacles, which sets me apart from all of the people who complain and never take action.

Changing Perceptions

Beyond challenging ideas on what a coder is meant to look like and come from, I want to use my power as a web developer to change people’s mindsets. When people think of the community I come from, they think only of poor people, poor infrastructure, and a poor environment. This impairs not only the reputation of the area but also of the individual people that live there. When you search Khayelitsha on Google the only images you can find are of shacks. Right now, I have a project that I’m working on with the purpose of showing the world a different side to Khayelitsha that highlights its beauty. I want to help the people that live there to be proud of what we do have, to stay close as a community, and to support each other.

Mandisa’s Path to Web Development

  • Went to COSAT High School
  • Studied at Code4CT
  • Studied Biotech for one year at UWC
  • Studied Web Development at CodeSpace Academy
  • Working as a Frontend Developer at Responsive Digital Innovation

THE CODER AND THE ARTIST

Charney

“Real people benefit from the things I code, whether it is through building a website which brings awareness to an issue or need, or because my app makes people’s lives simpler and better – coding connects me to people. I love the idea of being trained in user-experience design and through that, being involved with making programs, apps and websites more user-friendly for those that need them.”

 

IMPACTING THROUGH CODE

Tray-Anne Sikenjana

“Before the Code4CT camp in July 2015 I had always been quite good with computers but was never really interested in pursuing a career in tech. During the camp that quickly changed. I developed a love of coding and the many different coding languages – Javascript, HTML, JQuery and CSS to mention just a few. I loved the detail and precision of coding. A few lines of simple code could bring an idea to life in a way I had never seen before!”

 

Code4CT Alumnae

“Are you a Code4CT Alumnae or IT Professional interested in being featured in the #WhyICode series? Please fill out this form with your information and we will get in touch with you!”