My Life in Code: Ruth - Develop Me - Coding Bootcamp My Life in Code: Ruth - Develop Me - Coding Bootcamp

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Ruth giving a lecture

30th March 2020

Nicola Laing

My Life in Code: Ruth

Ruth has taught HTML and CSS on 15 of our 16 Coding Fellowship cohorts - teaching over 100 students. She used to think code was boring! What changed?

Ruth lecturing in web development
Image courtesy of Mozilla

It was the final day of university and I remember distinctly saying out loud

“Oh I don’t want a job coding, it’s so boring”

Nearly 20 years later and it dominates my life and I couldn’t love what I do more.

So what happened?

I had completed a university course called Entertainment Technology. This was before the days digital courses were common place. I knew I wanted to do something technical and creative and this course allowed me to study music technology, film, animation, digital design, 3D. We had one unit on Java programming which I did not take to at all, hence the quote, but on leaving university I found my first proper job was as a web developer.

I had to learn very quickly as I had no experience in building websites. I went home every evening for at least the first 6 months researching and learning everything I had been stuck on that day at work.

Slowly but surely my skills improved and before I knew it I was in fact a web developer, working with PHP, HTML & CSS primarily.

The first ten years of my career were mostly based in London, working for agencies designing and building sites for clients. I got through the dot com boom and crash pretty early on, so the noughties found it a sought after skill.

Ruth speaking on Front End Web Development
image courtesy of Front Conf Zurich

I never stopped taking myself home in the evening to learn the new thing I encountered that day, I don’t think I ever will. One thing that has kept my interest for all these years is the evolving landscape, there’s always something new to explore and try.

Moving on

I learnt a lot in those years and my thirst for exploration within the coding space was only magnified by the birth of digital. The iPhone appeared in 2007 and changed things for everyone, suddenly coding was cool, everyone wanted to build an app, and with this more money and focus was injected into the industry.

I took a job at the mobile company o2, in their research and development department. I still wrote the code I had always written but started exploring apps, wearables and interactive experiences.

I started talking and writing about my explorations and the things I built. I created jackets you can control with phones, crowd sourced musical instruments and the audio visual software I still use at shows today.

A few years into o2, Develop Me approached me about teaching. The timing was perfect as I knew I was just about to make the leap into self-employment.

It wasn’t my first time (I had previously contracted in London), but the idea of being able to teach everything I had learnt really appealed to me. And even more so for an independently run company in Bristol, where I could focus on the skills companies needed and on nurturing individual students.

Current Status

Ruth teaching the Coding fellowship bootcampNowadays education is my main thread. In between teaching I talk at conferences internationally about front end development, write documentation for developers and work with artists to help them achieve their work technically. I still make websites and apps. How we do that now has changed considerably since I wrote my first line of HTML all those years ago, but those fundamental skills I taught myself back then will never change and have enabled me to create what started as a mere passing thought.

I co-founded an international art collective [{ live : js }]( which focusses on music and visuals, we’ve played shows from Berlin to Singapore.

I also run a podcast about all things creative coding ( with my awesome co-host Tim, so if you’re interested to hear more about using code in other places you should check it out.

I’m very proud to be a part of what Develop Me has built over the past 5 years. I personally have taught over 100 students! Seeing them working and growing their careers, in and around Bristol, is amazing.

I learnt very quickly to “never say never” after university. Coding is anything but boring!

To find out more about the Coding Fellowship that Ruth teaches on sign up to one of our free taster sessions –


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