Much like the cell phone industry, webhosting companies are infamous for regurgitating an endless parade of repackaged same old same old hoopla, hoping to lure away some penny pinching Monty Burns type from the competition, or maybe just catch some unsuspecting refugee fleeing from one of their other brands.
So when Fused Network started offering a $100 account credit to any Fused customer who completes either the PHP or CSS/HTML courses at Codeacademy, we had to take a closer look, if only to alleviate the tedium of predictability we suffer on a daily basis.
We sat down with Fused CEO and founder David McKendrick to get his perspective on why this is such a good idea, and the increasing importance of coding literacy today and in the future. Also keep in mind that whether you’re a Fused member or not, Codeacademy offers free coding lessons for a number of applications and languages. It’s never too late to start learning!
HJ: Please tell us a bit about Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative.
David J: I came up with the idea after I completed the PHP course on codecademy myself; It wasn't long before I got extremely excited over the newfound skillset I was wielding almost immediately to make my life easier.
Over the past number of years, I was personally spending an increasing amount of my time finding developers for various projects at Fused. Not being intimate with coding firsthand for the past few decades really limited me, even in hiring. The truth is that as the internet and technology continues to become even more predominate in our lives, learning to code only becomes more & more relevant.
The insight it can offer someone in just our everyday lives is astounding, and, not to sound cliche, but it truly does open up a world of possibilities. To put that in more relatable terms: It's like knowing how to fix a car might come in handy when you're car shopping, or on the side of the road with a busted fuse; Being familiar with housing construction (& even basic remodeling) while you're in the search to select a home for your family, or, fixing that pesky leak that keeps you awake at night. That very knowledge gives you an immense amount of power in avoiding pitfalls with a leaky roof, or, helping you launch the next facebook.
Imagine being able to look at some new project in your own daily work from that new perspective. Knowing how to code is almost like a sixth sense, and if you don't know how to already: Learn! :)
HJ: You’re offering $200 in credit to any users who complete Codecademy’s PHP and HTML/CSS courses. We’re willing to bet that the end result of that process is worth more than $200 per user. Are we right? How does widespread programming literacy benefit Fused as a business?
David J: It would be of an immense value, but, part of the reasoning is sincerely just to get our clientbase to try new things. Knowing firsthand that many of them wrangle with their websites constantly, I can see value in each of them getting a better idea of how the internals of them work. I can go back to that car example -- if you're a driver, knowing how to change your tire, oil, and windshield wipers could save you an awful lot of hassle. And, it puts things in perspective -- you might have a better idea whether a project is feasible, or, at least how much work is required to get something operational.
A client might suddenly put down the idea to try to build another facebook in three days, but, they could instead build some tool or code snippet that's extremely relevant for their industry (or clients), helping separate them from your competition. Knowing how to code opens up a massive realm of possibilities, and, I want them to see that.
David J: That might hold true today in most respects, but, I'm seeing constant iniatives outside & inside schools that seem to acknowledge just how relevant it is for the next generation to know some of these firsthand. There's a number just here in Chattanooga, where we recently moved Fused (An unrelated note: For their fantastic gigabit internet to every household -- think google fiber, but, on a county-wide scale). The last generation got to pave a technological runway for the next generation to take off, and there is honestly no time more exciting than now.
An example of external organizations taking the initiative: Our local library here in Chattanooga offers free access to great resources for coding, like treehouse, another website dedicated to learning to code: All with just a library card. While the local school system might sorely lack the ample resources, the local community seems to be taking the helm and making up for any slack and I've seen that firsthand in many communities and cities.
HJ: If someone is hesitating on becoming code literate, it’s not unreasonable to suspect it’s because they don’t see the application that such literacy could have in their daily lives. What would you tell them to spark that desire to learn?
David J: In the same way that knowing how to cook, or paint, or pickup a hammer & nail and build something, gives you insight into what you're eating, or the potential of an empty room, or, that next fun home project, simply adds unlimited possibilities to your daily life. Imagine being able to see every new problem as a potential project, and a fun way to expand your horizons from a technological perspective. With greatest sincerity, I urge everyone to give it a few hours of their time. Hold off on that television show, here's something you can learn from your couch that'll change your life.
HJ: Do you have any larger plans to leverage Fused as an entity towards better programming literacy for all?
David J: I think just being a good citizen on the internet involves making sure education is a key role in our organization. I know that as someone with a small team working for me, making sure that they continue to expand their skillset, horizons & possibilities to give them a huge advantage, in their careers and in their own lives. I sincerely hope every client takes us up on our offer, and, like I did not more than a week ago, learns to code.
A code monkey is defined in the Urban dictionary as an affectionate term for a specific kind of underpaid, overworked (often by volition), increasingly underappreciated indentured servant, otherwise known as a Software Programmer. While the Fused’s ‘learn to code’ initiative is not likely to change that, it may at least give site owners a greater appreciation of the contributions made by the developers and programmers around us.