Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Codecademy Update!

I just popped over to Codecademy to continue with my coursework and POW!!!  There is a whole new track of stuff to learn.  They added Python to their courses.  Guess I know what I'm working on next!  I still plan on running through the Udacity courses as they seem to cover quite a bit more ground, but it's nice to see even more cool FREE stuff being offered.  I also really like the format Codecademy has.  Udacity integrates video as the primary mode of teaching and though this does make it much more like a real college lecture based course it also expands the amount of time required to complete the units.  If a unit contains X number of minutes of video you know that it will take you at least that long to go though it all.  But like I said, they take it WAY further than the basics.  By the end of Udacity's programing classes (I think there are three dealing with Python) you have built a search engine, a blogging platform and a freaking web browser!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Get your Code on!

So I've been away... again... for a very long time.  Sorry about that.  But I have returned to bring you awesomeness!!!  Free awesome programming courses!!!

I'm currently doing the Code Year program at Codecademy.  It's super detailed and easy to follow.  It starts you right in with interactive coursework on Javascript and moves you into HTML, CSS and finally Jquery.  It's designed to be like a college course program and is divided into lessons by weeks.  BUT you don't need to wait that long.  I've blasted through the first several weeks in only a few days.

I've had previous (though limited) experience with Javascript but already have found TONS of new stuff out by working through these exercises.  Its really fun.  They also give you "Badges" as you progress to help you feel motivated and to point out when you've accomplished cool stuff.

One of the things that really made this program stand out for me was that many of the lessons feature aspects of creating games.  Some of the lessons focus on creating a dice or blackjack game and this is really cool for someone hoping to one day be a game developer.

Another place to pick up some free programing lessons is over at Udacity.  They have a series of computer science courses that focus on programming with Python.  These courses are LITERALLY set up like college classes and mirror ones taught at Stanford.  Pretty snazzy huh?

Finally, though not as in depth, there is a really neat interactive tutorial on the Ruby programming language called tryruby.org.  The design of the site is super cute and based on a book/comic and features some art from it.  This tutorial leads into a series, but alas, you must pay for those classes.

I plan on working all the way though the Code Year program and then perhaps try my hand at Python. You can feel free to try them all of course.  I'll (try) to keep you posted on my progress and perhaps post a few tutorials of my own based on a couple of simple games I've put together using HTML/CSS/Javascript.  That is, once I've had a chance to go back and clean up the code now that I've found I have been doing it a bit.... shall we say.... less than elegantly.