Somewhere along the road, the stereotype of binary-fluent computer geeks in dusty basements changed.

The idea of what it means to be a computer programmer shifted from the lab geek stereotype to technologically-savvy millennials coding mobile apps in coffee shops on their lunchbreaks.

Certainly, the allure of becoming a coder has never been more prominent – more than useful today as Scotland tries to recruit an estimated 11,000 developers.

There is also a pressing need for more women in coding, which is where Scotland’s first accredited digital skills academy come in.

CodeClan takes in those looking to expand their skillset, or even change careers altogether, and enter the world of coding.

Graduate Iona Macbeth, who recently completed the organisation’s 16-week Professional Software Development course, worked in communications before retraining and the transition was more seamless than expected you might think.

“I found myself using more and more digital tools for work and started getting curious about learning to code,” she explains.

“I was working with some technology clients on events to promote women getting into tech.

“At some point I just thought, ‘why don’t I do it myself?’”

With the seed in her mind, Iona began looking for evening classes or courses she could take in Edinburgh.

She stumbled across a CodeClan taster session and thought it might help shed some light on whether programming was something she really wanted to pursue. “I really enjoyed trying tasks,” she says.

“But it was listening to the instructors talk about past students’ experiences that got me thinking this could be more than a hobby.”

While coding might initially seem inaccessible, it’s a practice that’s relevant to everything digital today, from microwaves to mobile phone apps.

Experts say the two main skills involved in learning how to code are logic and attention to detail – which perhaps explains why such large volumes of employees entering the sector come from non-tech backgrounds.

Programming can also be done anywhere, making it a flexible career option and increasingly appealing to those looking to avoid a 9am-5pm desk job.

“At its most basic level, coding is the process of writing instructions for a computer,” CodeClan instructor Siân Robinson Davies explains. “Whenever we want a computer to do some work for us, whether it’s generating a report or displaying information on a website, we have to translate the real-world problem into a set of instructions.

“These instructions are called computer programs and they need to be written in a language that the computer understands. Learning to code is the process of mastering these languages.”

Iona is CodeClan’s 500th graduate since the organisation opened three years ago and boosting the number of female graduates has become a big part of its mission.

Women currently make up 25 per cent of CodeClan graduates – though 50 members of the first 2018 class in Edinburgh were female – and chief executive Melinda Matthews says the aim is to boost this to 40% by 2020.

“We know our employer partners want to have more diverse workplaces,” Matthews says. “This autumn we are hosting our Digital Women’s Group with a stronger focus on understanding and addressing the issues facing women in growing their careers in the digital space.”

The shortage of women occupying technology-based roles became particularly serious several years ago. Efforts to encourage a new generation of female coders are part of a wider call for women working in science, technology, engineering and maths-related sectors.

Research released by Scotland’s Digital Technology Skills Group showed that women only accounted for 18% of the workforce in 2016 and the blame, at least partially, can be traced all the way back to school, with girls discouraged from pursing subjects such as physics, chemistry and computing.

“The imbalance starts while girls are in school, so it’s important solutions are developed to tackle this issue from early years onwards,” says Evelyn Walker of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

While organisations such as CodeClan strive to make gender equality a priority, the nurturing of women in coding is also happening at a grassroots level. City meet-ups, such as Women Who Code and Ladies of Code, give female coders of all abilities the opportunity to network with other professionals. “[These groups] have a supportive community and you can find out about other people’s experiences in the industry,” Iona explains.

National Coding Week, which kicks off next Monday, is another such initiative and will see CodeClan host several beginner sessions throughout this month, designed to reel in prospective programmers.

Of these sessions, several are geared specifically towards women, with two Prosecco and Programming events taking place in Glasgow and Edinburgh on September 19.