Friday, 5 April 2013

A review of Codecademy

Launched at the end of 2011, Codecademy is a free interactive online platform dedicated to computer programming.

News of its initial $2.5 million venture capital round was initially received with some scepticism but its Codeyear initiative gathered a significant amount of media attention, in part due to a tweet from Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York:

Codecademy is a very engaging way to get a first feel for a wide range of languages, amass badges and have fun along the way.

Within nine weeks, 400,000 people had registered.

Almost a year and a half later, things are still going strong (with the help of a further $10 Million of venture capital raised in June) and the site covers a wide range of languages (HTML, CSS, Jquery, Javascript, Python, PHP, Ruby) and tools for various APIs.

Codecademy labs provide very handy online compilers for students to play with code but unlike with some MOOCs (Udacity’s CS101 for instance) there is no expectation that students will independently solve hard open-ended problems.

The whole experience on the site is heavily gamified, with points and badges to be earned every step of the way. Every problem is broken into small segments in a way that feels like a recipe.

Its piecemeal approach makes Codecademy hard to recommend over some more focused online programming course from Coursera, Udacity or Edx. However, for somebody wishing to learn the basics in HTML and CSS, Codecademy remains a very engaging and satisfying option.

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