Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on UW Bothell’s student-run media blog, The Next. Codecademy is a great resource for self-directed kids—or adults—looking to boost their coding skills.
I’d like to take some time to talk about programming.
Now that’s the most enticing sentence you’ve ever read. You’re dying to read more, I know. I feel your excitement. Honestly though, programming is everywhere; it’s a field and practice that grows every day. Everything on a computer that you’ve ever interacted with was built, directly or indirectly, by a human telling a computer what to do.
Programming has experienced leaps and bounds in development and since its inception, and it has become increasingly approachable to people without technical backgrounds. Building the next big web application is just as accessible to you as it is to a lead developer at some hot-shot tech company. Still, here you are, sitting at your chair, thinking “Well great. I just don’t know where to start.”
Ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to discover a great place to start.
Codecademy is a site where you can build a number of coding skill sets pertaining especially to web technologies. PHP? You got it. HTML? absolutely! Python, Ruby, that weird language your aunt codes in? Probably. Codecademy offers a chance for complete newbies to blossom into ridiculously amazing web developers. Although it’s something that takes a lot of time to be great at, you’re definitely rewarded with the knowledge you gain.
Did I mention there are achievements? Because there are, and they’re a great way to keep you motivated. In fact, this entire setup is gamified.
Gamification is the process of applying game-based elements like rewards, objectives, and deeper interactions to a non-game context. Longstanding sites like eBay, as well as up-and-comers like Fitocracy, use these game elements to keep people engaged and to breed friendly competition between you and other users. In other words, they morph something that would normally be mundane into something that’s a lot of fun. When you accomplish a task, a gamified application will reward you, whether it’s with a boosted ego or a new piece of flair on your account.
The gamification of Codecademy brings you back time and time again, giving you new stripes to earn if you’re looking to pick up a new coding technology.
In addition to having a great team that backs and runs the site, it has an open door for people who have a knack for teaching. The development team has built a tool that allows members to create lessons and share knowledge with anyone who wants to buckle down and learn something new. This adds a level of sustainability to the community at Codecademy. With tools that let users teach users, the community can support itself for a long time, and all the developers have to do is update the toolset. The lessons are great, and they’ll keep coming in as long as there is a part of the community that seeks to learn and a part that loves to teach. This is a holy grail of knowledge resources, and the best part is that users are submitting new lessons all the time!
As a beginning web developer, I’ve found this to be an invaluable resource. If you don’t have an account, get one! The experience is free, and knowledge is power.
With the things you’ll learn here, you can build that cutting-edge website you’ve always wanted. You’ll create a cyberstructure to house your consciousness. You’ll implement the Matrix. What are you waiting for? That husk of a human body won’t be around forever, and technology is far more resilient and robust. Codecademy is exactly what you need to craft web applications that scores of people will use down the road. You’ll be rich, you’ll be famous, people will wish they thought of all of your ingenious ideas first. I recommend Codecademy because 40 years from now, I’ll beg you to upload my brain to a webserver. I’m counting on you. Now go get ‘em!
Note: Here’s a list of additional resources for Python courses.