CSSclasses - a CSSconf EU & Open Tech School Initiative

CSSclasses logo
Designed for beginners and experts alike, CSSclasses is a series of one-day events for anyone interested in getting acquainted and creative with CSS. These part workshops, part hackathons are organized by CSSconf EU and OpenTechSchool, and delivered by volunteer developers. Participation is entirely free of charge.

Launched in 2014, CSSclasses is an ambitious initiative aiming to make the introduction to coding not only more attractive, but also more accessible. Why CSS? Because it’s one of the most creative yet easy coding languages to get into.

We spoke to Lucie Höhler of the CSSconf EU team - Lucie is a CSSclasses alumnus-turned-coach. She is a front end developer in the making and she recently started her first front end gig at HitFox TechDev here in Berlin.

How did you end up at your very first CSSclasses event? What motivated you to attend?

Portrait of Lucie Höhler
I might have seen a tweet advertising it, or maybe an invitation on Meetup. I was teaching myself to code at that time and I was already aware that OpenTechSchool offered interesting (and free!) classes every now and then.

I had some knowledge of CSS, but it was very basic. To have a class with a curriculum and - most importantly - coaches whom you can ask questions, was the perfect opportunity to fill in the gaps in my knowledge and to get a better, more structured understanding of CSS. I think it’s always a good idea to take a class or a workshop when you’re learning something new. This way you’re “forced” to really dedicate time to it and you have the opportunity to work together with others, get to know them, and ask questions. Plus, it’s much more fun than doing it alone!

What does a day at CSSclasses look like? There are some learning materials for CSSclasses that roughly cover the day of the workshop. After participants have arrived and found their seats and nametags, the coaches make sure that everyone has WiFi, and an editor and browser installed. There may be an introduction round where everyone shares what their expectations are and whether there’s something in particular they’d like to learn. Sometimes the coaches give explanations to the whole class, but mostly participants can work through the materials at their own pace and just ask questions whenever they want to understand something better or don’t know how to proceed.

Anyone can create their own little project, which really brings out a lot of funny and interesting results. We have a lunch break together where people can get to know the coaches and each other better. Towards the end of the workshop, whoever wants to can present their project, design or website to the class. But it’s not a competition, and even those who have just done their first website with CSS are welcome to showcase it and present what they’ve learned during the day. Sometimes you really have to stop people from working in the end because they get so into it!

What, do you think, is the significance of these events? Workshops like CSSclasses offer a really low-threshold access to a lot of things: knowledge, of course, but also the opportunity to meet like-minded people with similar goals (e.g. people learning to code) as well as those who have already achieved these goals and can give advice on how to get there. Many of the participants, especially the organizers and coaches, are involved because they want to share their knowledge, often because at a different time someone did the same for them. This was my motivation to later become a coach myself.

If you’re trying to get into web development and learn how to code or improve your knowledge - no matter whether it’s professionally or for other reasons - beside the factual textbook stuff you also need encouragement, a community, and the feeling that “you can do it”. Also: creativity and fun! For me, CSSclasses offered all of that and I really hope it does so for others, too.

The next CSSclasses workshop will be held on September 20 at Co.Up Berlin. Anyone is welcome to sign up and join us for a day of educational, creative and fun coding. We'd also love to hear from potential coaches who'd be happy to share their knowledge with the community. If you're interested, let us know on twitter or RSVP to CSSclasses on Meetup.

Thanks for reading! <3

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