National Coding Week: My Top 5 Coding Communities


Happy National Coding Week! This momentous occasion is running from 16th September 2019 to 22nd September 2019. Beginning in 2014 as a volunteer-led organisation, it aspires to help build people’s confidence and skills by encouraging volunteers to run energising and engaging digital events.

To date, it has gained recognition nationwide, continues to build a prominent presence on social media having been the 3rd most tweeted topic in the UK, and nurturing partnerships with countless big names in the industry, including Microsoft Education, Cisco, Jaguar Land Rover, and many more.

To celebrate National Coding Week, I wanted to share my top five favourite coding communities. Whether you are just starting out as a hobbyist or want to pay it forward and share your knowledge, there is something for everyone.

1. Code First: Girls

Code First Girls

Code First: Girls is an award-winning social enterprise and nationwide community that offers women to code for free. Its aspiration is to teach 20,000 women to code by the end of 2020. With already over 10,000+ women already taught to code for free across the UK, their 2020 campaign goal is visible across the horizon.

It believes tech shouldn’t be a boys-only club and has aimed to bridge the gender gap in this area following the three objectives:

  • To train: support young adult and working age women to develop further personal and professional skills, such as technical skills in coding and personal soft skills.
  • To connect women to a community: encouraging women to build a rapport with other like-minded peers and companies who can support and accompany them through their professional development.
  • To help companies: enrich their talent by training their teams, recruiting new people and hone their policies and processes so they do not miss out on amazing and emerging female tech talent.

Applications for 2019 Code First: Girls community courses are currently open. More information can be found here.

Want to pay it forward and share the knowledge? Code First: Girls are also looking for instructors around the UK. Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity and demonstrates you have given your valuable time to amazing worthwhile causes. More information on how to be an instructor can be found here.

2. Compassionate Coding

Compassionate Coding

What do you think of when you first hear of being technical? What do you think of when you first hear of coding? What do you think of when you first hear of compassion? Do these three perceptions triangulate?

Founded by April Wensel in 2016, Compassionate Coding is a conscious business created to transform the tech industry with the power of compassion and ethics. It focusses on emotional intelligence and is human centred to empower companies and individuals, whilst aiming to increase inclusion and collaboration within the workplace, to deliver more conscious products.

Technical skills are important to thrive in the technology sector, but lest we forget soft skills are just as imperative. The hard truth is that it is virtually impossible to progress if you fail to possess a strong balance of the two. You can be the world’s best programmer, but if you cannot fathom to work in a team nor communicate effectively with peers from different backgrounds or domain knowledge, you will not be perceived as the expert you think you are.

The technology industry is moving in the right direction. It is rapidly recognising the importance of emotional intelligence and collaboration in order to deliver the best quality products to clients. It has acknowledged the importance of balance and compassion.

3. freeCodeCamp


freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organisation helping people globally learn how to code for free. It is a repository with thousands of videos, articles and interactive coding lessons available to the public. The forum also has study groups around the world as a reminder that you are not alone; code, collaborate, create.

Each course has a certification which learners receive once completed. To assist with aspiring developers, it has a specialised section that prepares you for coding interviews and mini projects to complete in order to consolidate your skills before you check into the interview room.

freeCodeCamp Skills

4. CodePen


CodePen is a social development environment for front-end developers. Show off your mini projects in a cool repository, build test cases as a way to strengthen your debugging skills and find inspiration in others’ CodePens. It also has an array of frameworks, such as React and Vue, for you to have a Go. (Pun intended.)

Stuck for ideas or want to steadily join the community? Try out the CodePen monthly challenges or the weekly ones on Twitter!

CodePen takes a holistic approach to blend the social and innovative side of coding. It encourages its users to collaborate and create, and is loved by many companies such as Netflix, Airbnb, IBM and many more.

5. Codebar


Codebar, a non-profit initiative, revolutionises coding by enabling underrepresented people from all walks of life to learn programming in a safe and collaborative environment, whist expanding their career prospects. The community runs regular workshops across the country for free, as well as singular events, to manifest opportunities for their attendees and make technology and coding more accessible.

The workshops hosted by Codebar are executed in a fun, collaborative and inclusive environment by starting with a brief social over light refreshments, followed by a lightning talk then an instructor-led coding tutorial.

To sign up as a student, please make sure to check out the eligibility criteria as the workshops are only available to people from underrepresented minority groups.

Codebar have almost 2000 coaches and are always looking for more to help spread the movement. More information can be found here.

If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your local area, please contact and include “Regarding Hosting a Workshop” in the subject line.

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