Learning To Code In Paradise With Institute Of Code

If you follow my social media, over the last few weeks you will have seen images of me at a beautiful villa in Canggu, and instead of basking in the Bali sun, working away on my laptop learning to code with Institute of Code! In this post I share what led me to find IOC and my experiences at the retreat.

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia8A year ago I decided to start a travel blog. Since I worked full time and I didn’t have time to build a site on my own, a friend introduced me to a web developer to build the site for me. After paying him up-front and spending 6 months being strung along by his excuses for his lack of progress, I was left with no website and less enthusiasm to build one. On the plus side, during this process I did acquire a very basic understanding (or educated guessing) about how building and coding a site would work.

Despite the rocky start, I knew I needed to create a site as I had started the popular We Are Travel Girls Instagram and the next step was to launch an associated site to share female travel stories from our community. I took the knowledge I had taught myself, bought a basic WordPress theme, and had a functional site launched pretty quickly!

Fast forward six months and, whilst the We Are Travel Girls site has been successful in terms of traffic, the design and functionality doesn’t fit with the original vision when we first started, nor our plans for the future. My desire to be able build the perfect bespoke website for our company led me to find Institute of Code, a 10 day intensive coding retreat in Bali!

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia8The Institute Of Code Story

Founders Tina and Emilio launched Institute of Code in 2015 after travelling through South America and financing their trip with web development projects for local businesses and hotels. During their trip they found they were able to get more work done in an environment that was away from the traditional office setting, and they came up with the idea to apply this philosophy to teaching how to code.

Their goal was to re-imagine the traditional learning environment and create a space where you could participate in an immersive course that would provide real outcomes, skills and a live website to take home. In addition to the classroom learning, you would start and end the day with yoga and meditation classes to relax your mind, and the enjoy your breaks throughout the day in the pool. All of this is designed to help your mind and body take in a large quantity of new information without burning out quickly or becoming distracted.

With their vision defined, they set about creating a 10 day retreat in Bali and have recently celebrated their 100th student!

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia46institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia14What Does Institute Of Code Offer Their Students?

If you take a look through their website you will get a very good feel for what the coding bootcamp / retreat offers you in terms of the schedule and the inclusions. To summarise, 15 students, 4 mentors, 10 days with everything included from accommodation, meals, activities and massages.

During this time you will learn:

+ Web fundamentals
+ How to talk-the-talk with developers
+ HTML, CSS & basic Javascript
+ How to build a responsive website
+ How to create a blog
+ Setup an E-commerce store
+ Create galleries, contact forms & sliders
+ Embed videos & interactive maps
+ Cross-browser compatibility
+ How to set up hosting & domain names
+ Optimising your site for Google

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia13institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia4But, What Do They Really Offer?

Whilst the above is totally accurate, I felt that the real experience of Institute of Code goes beyond learning coding fundamentals. From the moment you walk into the incredible villa you will realise that not only are you about to learn a fantastic new skill, but you are in for an extremely special and fun experience!

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia21institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia26As I mentioned, the course is made up of 15 students, 4 mentors and various other IOC staff who all come together to create an amazing group of likeminded, ambitious and intelligent people. I was excited to learn about each student’s background, why they were on the course and what they planned to do with what they learned. In my group there was such a variation of people from all over the world, the networking opportunities added so much additional value to the course that you may not have even considered when you booked.

In addition to that, whilst the core goal is to build a website, each student had a different vision or specific features they wanted to achieve in their website. This was extremely helpful, both to gain new ideas and to bounce off one another creatively. Within the group we had students who wanted to become web developers themselves, some who planned to build an app, someone who wanted to be able to run a team of developers and others who wanted to build a site for their business or online store.

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia18institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia9Reasons To Take This Course

I have told you this is a great experience, but how do you know if this course is right for you? The course cost, plus flying to Bali, can be expensive so you want to be sure you will achieve your goals when you are there. One way you can be sure about this is that the founders and mentors have a Skype call with every potential student to discuss what they are hoping to achieve and ensure that their course is the right fit for you. The founders do an incredible job of accepting students who fit the course, both in terms of goals and matching personalities within the group.

Some examples of why you might want to take the course are:

  • You want to learn the fundamentals of coding to build your own customised site
  • You want to become a web developer and potentially start a freelance web development business
  • To create core foundations of understanding that you can then develop and build upon by self study after the course or further education
  • To better understand coding in order to have intelligent and informed conversations with developers you are hiring to build sites for you or teams you may be working with in your career
  • Meeting like-minded people from all over the world who are interested in their own personal development by learning to code
  • Potentially to manage a team of software developers by learning to speak the “programming” lingo (this was the reason for one girl attending my course)

What Will You Take Away

  • Good understanding of HTML (content elements), CSS (styling) and Javascript/J Query (animations).
  • A fully functioning website. Note, how far you get with your site is up to you and will depend on how fast you work and whether you spend additional hours after class. Some students created an awesome landing page and had the framework to add additional pages, others created multiple pages as well as shop pages. On my course, one student finished her site and started a second one, and we even heard one student from a different session made 5 (!!) websites with no prior experience!
  • Creative control of your website, taking you beyond the standard theme and allowing you to create a truly unique site portraying your business’ message
  • Have your page templates loaded into a content management system where you will easily be able to update and make changes to your site
  • A great network of people who you will likely call friends by the end of the ten days. On the last few days of our course multiple students changed their flights and all booked a villa together to explore Bali for a few extra days together!
  • Incredible memories, experiences, friends, skills and a tangible usable website!

institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia20institute-of-code-retreat-bali-we-are-travel-girls-indonesia27What Did I Personally Learn?

I achieved my own goal to be able to understand core coding functionality, allowing me to read and decipher someone else’s code as well as write my own. I created a new design layout for my company, We Are Travel Girls, which I will now continue to work upon to be able to re-launch in 2017. I feel more confident understanding the back end of my site to be able to make intelligent changes instead of just guessing and copy / pasting pieces of code! Plus of course I have made valuable connections for both business and friendship!


Finally, there is so much more to the experience besides purely coding, including the absolutely delicious meals, the morning and afternoon yoga sessions, day trips to Ubud to the see the rice terraces and the monkey forest, and to the beach in Sanur for paddle boarding, sunset at beautiful La Laguna, daily inflatable flamingo racing, cocktails by the pool and so much more!

So what are you waiting for? Courses start again in Bali on 4th February 2017.
If you are interested in signing up, please go over Institute Of Code to apply for your place.
Plus, if you book this week for one of the February courses using the below link or mentioning We Are Travel Girls, you can receive a $200 reduction in the course cost!



Please note, I attended this course at a discounted rate. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own and reflect my true experience on this course.

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  • Reply
    Vanessa Rivers
    December 8, 2016 at 4:27 am

    Fab post Becky! I love all the photos! I can’t wait till I can take a course at Institute Of Code!

    • Reply
      Becky van Dijk
      December 26, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Vanessa, maybe you can go next year!

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