Learning to code

“There is no secret ingredient” — Mr.Ping to Po in ‘Kung Fu Panda’

MumbaiData under the hood

MumbaiData was one of my graduation projects at IDC IIT Bombay that garnered a lot of attention. I often start the story of how I decided to build MumbaiData somewhat like this; “I was working as an Urban designer on the Mumbai Development Plan. At the office we used to have these huge maps that would fill up an entire room. My colleagues and me would sit down, often for days, tracing out regions in the map whenever we had to perform a correlation in the datasets. I always felt this was such a waste of employee time. We could do so much in such little time. I knew technology would come to the rescue and months later I got the opportunity and time. It was then that I decided to build MumbaiData.”

Although noble, I have to tell you that my intentions were not completely altruistic here. It was somewhere a selfish act of solving a problem that I had faced (Ayn Rand would be proud).

The underlying objective was one, to simplify analysis of spatial data for Mumbai city (make it easy to create maps with existing data without the laborious efforts) and second, to start learning to code (like i mentioned the the earlier post, knowing how to code is a superpower). With this project, I could do both.

Making mistakes is to learn why something does not work.

I strongly believe in learning by doing. Making mistakes is to learn why something does not work. MumbaiData seemed like a big enough challenge and an opportunity to make lots of mistakes then. This is not a coding tutorial, but here are a few places to start.

  1. I would strongly recommend starting with Harvard’s CS50. This a free course, although lengthy. Trust me, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
  2. Codeacademy is a great place to start learning web technologies, mainly HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.
  3. Stackoverflow for when you get stuck. It is a question and answer forum and you will most probably find all your answers there. It is ‘Master Oogway’.

Rather than completing each of the courses, I would recommend to start with a project you have in mind once you are comfortable with the ‘idea’ of coding and learn simultaneously. It is more interesting to learn concepts when you can relate them to your project.

Despite my intentions of learning to code, MumbaiData is much more than me wanting to learn to code or making maps. It aims to start a conversation around one of the more important ideas that is changing public policy and the world at large. The idea of Open Data.

To be continued…


This post is a second part in a series. Here’s a link to the previous post:
Beneath this mask is Data — Part 1 (or how to make lemonade)

Here are a few links to articles about MumbaiData :

You see a pattern there, don’t you? I had to be consistent okay!

Here’s a link to MumbaiData. It is completely free to use and open source.

So long, old friend




Closet Zen master. Part cyborg. https://akor.in/

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Closet Zen master. Part cyborg. https://akor.in/

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