The initial goal was to learn more about the technical aspects of what their teams work on to help them in their roles. But in addition to learning skills to help them better connect with their product teams, the members have also used the coding group as an opportunity to connect during a challenging time.
“It’s been super awesome,” Calli shared with us. “It’s kind of that distraction away from everything that’s happening and it’s a good opportunity to get together and have a couple laughs.”
We spoke with Calli to find out more about the coding group at Paradox. She shared the story behind why they decided to learn to code together and shared some advice for others looking to start similar groups with their own teams.
Why learn to code as a team?
There are a few benefits to learning to code as a team. Upskilling together can have huge benefits to the organization as a whole. But that’s not all. Learning together also helps with motivation and accountability. Plus, it’s fun!
Upskilling together benefits the organization
“When I started as an intern and an APM at Paradox, I didn’t have an understanding of how code actually worked,” Calli told us. Inspired by a fellow-PM that had learned to code, Calli decided to attend a bootcamp and use Codecademy to better understand the technical aspects of the product at Paradox.
“Having a basic understanding of code and the technical aspects of the work, you’re able to ship higher quality products. You’re able to think through problems in a different way,” says Calli. Learning to code has helped Calli in her role as a PM in a multitude of ways. She wanted to continue her learning journey post-bootcamp to keep improving — and a group of other PMs at Paradox were interested in learning code for the same reasons.
Because they’re learning together, Calli and the other PMs in the group are not only learning new things on their own, but they’ve also been able to learn from each other. When they meet, they try to connect what they’re learning back to work. “We always attempt to think through the things we’re currently working on,” says Calli. “Is learning this actually going to help you? Does it make you rethink what you’re currently doing?”
Learning together helps with accountability
Learning as a team can also help with motivation and accountability. When you’re meeting at a regularly-scheduled time, you’ll be more likely to make progress. And even if you don’t make progress, it’s helpful to hear about what others are learning to get that motivation back!
Calli tells us, “I always like getting the opportunity to learn more. As a product person, it’s always good to expand your knowledge.” But learning with others gives her additional motivation. “I love getting the opportunity to chat with other people that are doing similar things and bounce ideas off each other. When we talk about a product or requirements, we’re all talking the same language now.”
Learning together is fun!
Learning as a group has also been a nice distraction during a strange time. “We all worked together before the pandemic,” says Calli. “Learning with Codecademy has been an opportunity to get closer together. We have something other than work to talk about, so that’s definitely nice! And we always leave a little time at the end of our sessions just to chit chat.”
How to start your own team coding group
Thinking about learning to code together as a team at your organization? Calli’s advice is, “Just do it. It can never hurt. You go in, take the easy courses first and you move up to the harder ones and just keep learning. And have fun with it! It’s ok that we’re not perfect — that’s the point of taking courses and learning.”
If your team already has access to Codecademy, here are a few pointers:
- Schedule a recurring meeting time to stay accountable. You may decide to meet once a week, every other week, or once a month depending on your team’s availability.
- Go at your own pace. Don’t feel like you all have to learn at the same pace — or even take the same courses. What’s most useful to you may not be the same as what’s useful to another member of your team and everyone may be starting at different levels of experience. Use the group meetings as an opportunity to connect and talk about what you’re learning, or as scheduled time to make progress.
- Connect what you’re learning back to work. Discuss Calli’s questions as a group: Is what you’re learning helping you in your current role? Does it make you rethink what you’re currently working on?
- Ask questions. Maybe other members of the group will have the answers, maybe they won’t. But bringing questions up can lead to good conversations just the same.
- Leave time for small talk! This is important, especially with everyone working remotely. Leaving time for small talk at the end can be a nice reward that’ll make you look forward to the next group coding session.
Learning together with Codecademy
On a team and interested in sharing Codecademy with your manager or leadership team? Calli recommends coming up with a proposal to share with your manager or leadership team that explains how learning with Codecademy or learning a specific language is going to help you and your team move forward.
“Build your proposal, come up with your reason, and pitch it and be excited about it,” says Calli. “Build a case about why it’s important and the value it’s going to provide to you, your team, and your organization.”