If someone said to you they couldn’t write, you’d think that was a bit odd, given it’s what we do every day.

What if I said that the language of tomorrow was code? Young children are learning it, in their bedrooms, off their own back and they are more technically able in the world, than most adults.

According to Tynker, an organisation which promotes coding for kids, “This year, almost 200 million students around the world were exposed to coding through the Hour of Code event. And over 90% of American parents want programming added to their child’s curriculum.” WOW!

Since the start of the year, I’ve taken a keen interest in coding. I knew there was some sort of link between what code does and how PR could leverage it.

I conducted some research through the PRFest community and there was appetite to learn more about code and how it could help PR practitioners in their jobs.


CodeClan’s Glasgow campus

Last week, I took my first step to learning code at an event I organised with my client, CodeClan. (CodeClan weren’t a client back then, they wanted to work with me because of how I work and my passion for digital.)

Here’s what I learned in 20 minutes:

  • There are three elements of coding which all work together. You’ll have heard of the terms but not realised what they mean/do.

HTML – hypertext markup language. It gives meaning e.g. sidebar or image.

CSS – cascading style sheets. Basically it’s the design.

JS – java script. Programming language. It’s the behaviour of the web page and handles user interaction.

  • You need all three elements to develop a website or app.
  • Things start off very basic – draw a structure of a site, with the different sections.
  • We used a piece of software called Atom to write text

Sadly, the fire alarm went off, so we couldn’t carry on, but I will reschedule the event before Christmas so we can carry on. At the end, I should be able to make a simple website.

Looking at the bigger picture, I want to explore coding further for the following reasons:

  • If I am to write technical briefs, I need to know what I’m saying
  • If I am to advise boards and understand the language the CIO or CTO is using, without feeling stupid, I need to know how it works
  • If I am to write budgets, I need to understand how long something takes to make, and how much it will cost
  • If I am to be able to quickly resolve issues without waiting for a supplier to free up time in two weeks, I need to know how to use and write code
  • If I am to be able to quickly segment and analyse data, I need to be able to write code

A huge area of growth for PR and communication is understanding data, where it comes from, how to segment and analyse it and how to use it to inform strategy. CodeClan has just launched a course, R programming, which is exactly for this. It’s £200 and a 1-day course. I’ll be booking!! It then goes onto further programming courses, which are also 1-day courses. I can’t tell you how excited I am about making the connection of PR and coding and now exploring how I can up-skill and really be at the forefront of PR and data.

Will be joining me in pushing forward and modernising your practice or will you be relying on ‘the way it’s always been done’?

If you want to come along to the PRFest rescheduled event, there are 3 places available. Please email me.

If you want to book for the CodeClan R course, book now! It’s only a couple of weeks away. There is also a discount if you book more than one, 1-day course.