Learn to code

Learning to write code is fast becoming an important skill for the average knowledge worker. Most people working in communications teams now need to have some ability to translate what they want as close to machine language as they can. That might present itself as simple Markup or HTML, or be more significant languages such as Javascript or understanding how CSS works. As the title of Douglas Rushkoffs book suggests, we will either program or be programed. Today, I’ve noticed some buzz around the new service being offered by Code Academy, called Code Year.

The premise behind Code Year is simple. You subscribe via email and receive a weekly lesson with tasks you can participate in. Fred Wilson is taking it up. Buster Benson is tweeting about it. Paul Graham has invested in it. It’s a brilliant initiative and something I think would be great to take part in.

I begun trying to learn Ruby On Rails last year. It’s something I’ve let lapse a little bit since starting at Yammer as that became my core focus, but I’m excited to be heading to Rails Camp in 2 weeks to scratch up on the skills I learnt at the last camp in June 2011. Learning to code is hard for me. It’s not something that will be on my habit calendar for a little while yet, but a skill I still want to invest in learning more at some point this year.

If 2012 is the year you want to learn how to code, Code Year looks like a great place to start.

4 thoughts on “Learn to code

  1. It is a bit of a tougher one as it’s not really practical for you to make a daily habit out of like you do with writing. Might not even be practical to be a weekly thing as getting to continuous blocks required to make some progress might be hard.

    Maybe it needs to be something like imposing on yourself a deadline to ship a little app or something.

    1. Hey Rob, I agree but think the weekly reminder/task will continue to spur people on to make that change if they’re committed. I guess that’s the main thing – that they’re committed to learning it.

      I was committed to learning Rails last year. I’d played around with the stuff and worked through a tutorial and then attended RailsCamp. However, I wouldn’t say that commitment ended in success – I still don’t know how to code. Perhaps I wasn’t committed enough!

      How did you come to learn to code? Can you share any insights with us? —
      @stevehopkins http://www.thesquigglyline.com/blog

      Doing something awesome? Apply for an Awesome Foundation Sydney grant!!!

  2. I really like the accessibility of Codecademy. It might even be a useful tool for introducing code to hesitant students.

    And on that point, your first few sentences on the importance of code to the “average knowledge worker” is very strong, too. We have some trouble expressing that idea in the Digital Media degree to undergrads who think that simply learning a software package is the only way to a career. I might steal a quote or two from you. 😉

    1. Accessible is a great way to describe it. The RoR guys are great at that in particular. They say code has stopped becoming something that only ‘programmers’ can understand. It’s becoming much closer to intuitive language, which whilst still requiring some logic to understand, can be done by anybody willing to learn it. Before I talked to those guys, I just assumed learning to code was well beyond me.
      ‘Steal’ all you like 😉

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