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Learning to code with the Institute of Code in Bali – a life changing 10 days

May 28, 2017

As a writer, there are some things in life that you are hesitant to write about, simply because you feel you wont do it justice. One week upon returning from my time with The Institute of Code (IOC) and I found myself repeatedly giving the same answer when people asked me “so how was it??” “It’s hard to talk about without gushing” I’d tell them back. Okay, but we still want to know, I’d see in their faces. But the problem was, I just didn’t know where to start.


My set up for the 10 days

It’s just emotions, taking me over

I’ll start today with pinpointing the emotion, I felt overwhelmed and grateful as soon as I stepped into the Institute of Code villa. Antonia, my soon to be roommate remarked: “It looks like something out of Vogue Living” as we stepped out of airport transfer to our home for the next 10 days. And it was true; it was stunning; clean, spacious and minimalist. As you walked through the building and looked into the distance, you saw an infinity pool backed onto lush green nature. Scattered around the villa, your mentors, eager to meet you, waiting with warm smiles. That feeling, this sort of overwhelming + gratefulness stayed with me till the end of my trip, which was just as well, as it meant I took in each moment like a much needed cup of tea.



The business of coding

So this is the important part for people potentially looking to book this course for themselves. Will I really learn how to code? Well yes. I was very much a beginner in the world of coding. I had worked with Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress and bespoke options in my past, but I really hadn’t got into the thick of it. So depending on who is reading this, you will know that there are many languages in code. We focused on front-end development, learning: HTML, CSS, Jekyll, Gridlex, J Query and Javascript. More important than this, (what I valued most) was the ability to learn a sort of problem solving mind set. Preparing your mind to solve coding issues you would come across in the future.

Also the websites. We were recommended over 10 websites and resources to help make our life easier, from rights free image use and a place to upload your code in case you make a dire mistake to places to get websites icons and colour picker apps– all the types of hacks you need to genuinely start building websites and be a coding G. We also got a bespoke guide that we’d be allowed indefinite access to, which goes over course content and is constantly being updated with new content too.


Classroom – where the magic happens

IT Guys Girls

I’m guilty of this myself. In business when you reference technical support, the phrase can just slip out of your mouth: “maybe you can get your IT guy to look at it”. This is an issue. In the field of IT female representation is disproportionately low. We know this from self-published statistics from some of the worlds biggest companies that at Facebook for example; technical female employees make up 15% of the total, and at Google not much higher at 17%. In a Stack Overflow survey (community for coders) it appeared even less with only 5.8% identifying as female. Our Institute of Code group was made up of 11 female students, 11 girls making a serious investment into their futures, in the field of IT. My group was extremely hard working, too. You would often find us coding into the early hours of the morning. We all had the same mind-set – I am going to learn as much as is humanly possibly during my time here.


Girl Code | photo by Lina at @fluxll

So now I know what you’re thinking. 11 girls, 10 days, high-pressured situation – tell me about the DRAMA. But no, sorry folks, there was none of that. Everyone in our groups was very different, diverse backgrounds, from varying places in the world, contrasting skillsets, and yet we got along like 11 perfect peas in a pod and were incredibly supportive of each other. Naturally we all had our breakdowns, when our websites were broken beyond return and life appeared to dissipate before our eyes, but there was always a smiling face and a practical offering from someone, which you couldn’t be more grateful for. This meant that aside from the hard-core code learning, my time was filled with intelligent debates and silly chats that made me laugh so much my belly hurt.

The IOC Avengers Team

IOC is co founded by Tina May, a content, down-to-earth entrepreneurial coding queen who lives and works in Bali. At the dinners or at moments of the day Tina gleefully engages with the class. Helping with the odd coding difficulty, or taking you through her hardship in being kicked out of her own company, and most importantly overcoming that event in her life. Emilio, the other co founder of IOC, also has his own entrepreneurial history that he’s happy to dive into. Apart from that he’s a super talented photographer – did somebody say new Facebook profile picture??

So what’s this avengers reference about? This is a reference to the epic-ness of our mentors. We had six mentors, four coding and two standard. I don’t want to go into them too much personally as you may have different people for your cohort but they were pretty awesome. A lethal concoction of travel bloggers, entrepreneurs, digital nomads and coding wizzes, who were there to have a chat anytime and answer a coding gripe at midnight because you could quite go to bed without resolving it.

Home away from home


Smoothie bowl baby

So you may or may not know I’m very obsessed with food. And boy do you eat, healthily of course. Institute of Code offers you a programme of amazing food including snack sessions, smoothies and Balinese dinners, which had both meat eaters and vegetarians alike salivating. If you have a particular dietary requirement – it is catered for and more.

I unfortunately arrived at IOC ill. But I was determined not to let it ruin my experience. I was really looked after by the team and offered whatever I needed for my road to recovery (special teas, medicine etc). More than that they really cared about mine, and everyone’s wellbeing throughout the stay. I have to shout out the retreat manager who was basically like having a fun mum for 10 days. (Thank you Alexis).

Fun anyone?

If all that doesn’t sound fun enough, I’ll also talk a little bit about our extra curricular activities. You’re not just coding constantly, as fun as it was 🙂 you do get to leave the villa! We got to visit local markets, beaches, Ubud’s monkey forest, a local village ceremony, a fun bar of sunset cocktails and a night out in the infamous La Favella, (in Seminyak) which was much needed after a week of hard work.

Relaxing is on the programme too. With a masseuse on hand (a free one included with your stay) and yoga offered in the mornings and afternoons, we were really able to keep our heads during our time there. Something I particularly enjoyed was that we started class with a morning mediation, led by the magical yoga teacher Amaranta. It was the perfect was to start our richly packed days.


One of my classmates in the monkey forest loving life


Yoga with a view | photo by Madelin Tomelty at @never_leaving_luxury

A summary

All good things come to an end. And the Institute of Code is one of those things that I’ve done that I will probably tell the kids about. I made some really good friends that I hope I will keep for a long time, I engaged inspirational people which helped pivot/direct my next step in life and I learnt skills that will help open up my opportunities and offer me freedom for the life I want to live. As I am writing this I have already secured two website building opportunities which I can use to build my portfolio. So I guess to the tech world: watch this space. And to The Institute of Code, a big thank you.


One of the smoothies + itinerary for the day

I totally want to do this

I don’t blame you. Considering the European Commission has predicted a skills gap of over 800,000 ICT jobs in Europe by 2020, and 1.4 million IT jobs and Canada around a similar time frame, the time really is now. Please see some details below for connecting with The Institute of Code. I would also keep a close eye on their newsletter as they have offered scholarships to women in the past, and why not next one be to you? You can also enquire about costs (which I paid over instalments FYI). If you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer below. This is not a sponsored post.

–> The Institute of Code website

–> Follow IOC on their social channels: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

For more of my Bali adventures and recommendations simply click here or give me a shout on my Instagram, @thewadingwade. To see the full album of photos from my time at the Institute of Code, view on Facebook here.


Final website presentations done: celebrations are in order!

  • Reply
    So The Adventure Begins
    June 1, 2017 at 9:12 am

    This sounds so unreal!! It’s something I’ve seen popping up in my social feeds and I’ve always thought it sounds like a good investment (and fun of course!) but this has just confirmed that it is something I’d love to try!! Is it all only girls or are guys welcome too? Thanks for sharing your juicy insights!

    • Reply
      Wading Wade
      June 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Guys are totally welcome! It’s just ours happened not to have any :p I’m so glad you enjoyed I wholeheartedly recommend it as you can see. All the best with your coding journey chica!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Funnily enough, I recently applied to IOC for a position, will see how this goes 😉 The happier I am to see you had such a wonderful experience. I studied psychology and know about the effect of stereotypes, like towards females in tech; both experiencing those from others, but also something called the “stereotype threat”. Meaning that a minority, by unconsciously being aware of the stereotypes towards their social group, will perform worse. There’s a lot to do, and learning to code (especially in such a wonderful setting, omg!) is one of many great steps to make a powerful progress. Thanks for your thorough review, really 🙂

    • Reply
      Wading Wade
      June 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Christina, really lovely to e-meet you! What are the chances hey? I’m glad this review was useful on your end and the very best of luck, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you 😀 that’s a really interesting point you make about the “stereotype threat”, and you’re right in that there’s a long way to go. The good thing in this is that there’s so much scope for positive change, and with initiatives like these, I’m very hopeful for the future!

  • Reply
    Bali, Ubud: Love, Pray, Eat – a cooking school experience – Wading Wade
    July 4, 2017 at 12:17 am

    […] when you haven’t been away in a while! Another thing that struck me? After I had finished my experience learning to code with The Institute of Code, I felt a bit lost as to where to go next. I was determined to connect with Balinese people, but in […]

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