Starting out programming: a review of Codecademy

Coding

Coding

When I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop I decided that I wanted to create my own websites (at the point of writing this I am still not ready to create my own websites). The first thing I did was google ‘programming for beginners’ and what I found was Codecademy.

For those of you who do not know what Codecademy.com is, it is a site that aims to teach people programming who have have never programmed before. I started using Codecademy when it was a new site, when they were only teaching Javascript (they now teach other languages too).

For me, the thing about Codecademy was that even though it started at the very basics, it didn’t explain what you were doing. For instance I was doing one of their lessons where they talk about semicolons (those who program will know the importance of them) and although they tell you to use them, they do not explain why. I found this happening on a number of occasions.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Codecademy, I actually use it now to practice my programming, I just didn’t find them the most useful for teaching me programming from the basics.

If you want to know the way I actually learned how to program, I downloaded ‘Getting Good with JavaScript‘. What I found really helpful about this e-book was the set of screencasts that came with it to accompany the book. When I finished the book and screencasts I felt I had learned the very basics of Javascript and of programming. I decided to go back to Codecademy and I actually started to understand their lessons a little better because I had a little more knowledge of programming and of Javascript.

I’m not saying that Codecademy isn’t useful, I just don’t think it is the best place to go for the complete beginner. As an alternative method I suggest learning the very basics from somewhere else and returning to Codecademy for their intermediate tutorials.

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