Steer – teaching the world to code

Historically there’s been a clear divide between designers and developers, with the handover of static photoshop pages sometimes their only interaction. However, times are changing. With ever increasing platforms to design for and more possibilities for interacting with digital technology, there’s never been a better time for true collaboration.

That’s where Steer come in.

Having launched in Clerkenwell, London, Steer aim to “teach the world to code”. With an expert, multi-disciplined teaching team, Steer will be running a series of intensive, one week courses in front end and back end web development, from early April. The front end development course in particular is of interest, as it aims to teach complete novices to code in one week.

We spoke to Steer co-founder Rik Lomas to find out more about the project.

Q. There are a number of courses teaching people to code, but we haven’t seen any others which claim to teach novices in one week. This almost sounds too good to be true, what gives you such confidence?

A. Our courses are intensive, we pack a lot into 5 days to make sure participants get their money’s worth. All you need is a smart mind and a willingness to try. Coding is one of the most creative skills you can learn, you can make anything – from silly animations using cat GIFs to companies the size of Facebook. Children aged 9 are learning to code with initiatives like Code Club (, so if they can do it, anyone can. Once you break the first few walls down, it’s amazing how quickly people pick it up, especially people who’ve already got en eye for design. It’s a natural progression.

Q. The Front End Developer course is likely to be popular with traditional graphic designers who have a background in print, what are the main benefits you’d expect them to take away from this?

A. By the end of the course, designers would be able to create the sites that they design. Learning to code will help them better understand the medium and context that they’re working in, and can only make them more valuable. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.

There was a great article called Designing With Code by Jeremy Bell from Teehan+Lax who said that “if great design is not only aesthetics but also how it works, then it’s time to make development part of the creative process”. This is something that we totally agree with. The best designers are the ones that truly understand the medium.

Q. There are online coding courses with good reputations, what are the benefits of learning at Steer HQ?

Learning online has one fundamental problem – what happens when you get stuck? Most people I’ve spoken to who have tried to learn online have hit a wall and stopped. Learning with a teacher fixes this, and, crucially, a big part of what we do at Steer is teaching them how to get over getting stuck.

A. When learning online, you have to plough in a fixed direction, but we want our students to ask as many questions as possible. Often they’ll have a specific goal in mind – a business or a specific process they want to fully understand – and we can help them get there. Online courses will never be able to do that.

Q. You’re currently based in Clerkenwell, are there any plans to branch out to other UK cities?

Not yet, London is currently our home but the whole team is from around the UK. I’m from Manchester and I know there’s a great design community up there. Calum’s from Glasgow and there’s some awesome designers there too. It’s something that we’re planning to do but in the meantime, we’re looking for affordable deals to let people stay over in London for the courses.

We’ve partnered with Steer to offer FFF readers 10% off their courses – to take advantage of the offer use this link.

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