Jessica Hische on teaching yourself how to code

An edited version of this article first appeared in issue 224 of .net magazine the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

.net: What inspired you to create Don't Fear the Internet?
JH: The inspiration of the site came through teaching myself a fair amount of mark-up and CSS while rebuilding my portfolio site and the Daily Drop Cap site. Over the past few years I gained a bit of knowledge about CSS editing, starting first in Blogger, then Tumblr when I launched Daily Drop Cap. I knew that both blogging platforms were pretty limited compared to WordPress so when Daily Drop Cap was about three quarters of the way finished I wanted to reorganise it and build a more robust archiving system in WordPress. It seemed like most young web designers I knew were making beautiful websites by just hacking WordPress, and since I was already familiar with blog platforms, figured it was probably something I could dig my heels into. By rebuilding Daily Drop Cap from scratch using stripped down WordPress themes I taught myself a lot about editing CSS, HTML and some PHP. By diving in head first I realised how not-scary CSS and HTML could be and really wanted to share that with other designers and illustrators that never considered working in a web environment.

Don't Fear the Internet was a way for me to reorganise and share what I learned so far with others that didn't know where to start. So many services are popping up now that try to remove you as far away from the code and structure as possible, and I believe if you are just introduced to it in a way that isn't intimidating, you can really benefit from knowing how things work and create amazing sites from the inside out. I don't know why or how mark-up and CSS was branded as being something strictly for the supernerds, but it's easy and fun to learn.

.net: What kind of response have you had so far?
JH: The response has been amazing. We can't make videos fast enough! We've consistently had over 100k visitors a month and get requests every day to post more videos. Professors have told us that they are using the videos as tools in their classroom including a Stanford University master class, and countless people have emailed to thank us and to say that they learned more in one of our five-minute videos than in a full weekend workshop.

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