Codecademy Review

After starting this website I quickly realized that while WordPress is easy enough to handle there is a lot going on at my web host’s servers and on the browsers that view my site that I didn’t really know about. I had a few minor hiccups and am still working to build my site to be the dream site that I know it can be, but I thought in order to really enjoy having my own site and be relatively knowledgable about what is going on with it I should learn a bit. Since then google has gotten quite a workout with a lot of individual questions I’ve had like, which plugins to use, css best practices, responsive design for WordPress and a host of other questions. Being of a certain generation I’ve always thought of myself as relatively technologically literate.

This idea it seems however, was totally unfounded. I had no idea what my computer or web browser was really doing when I was surfing the web I really just knew the basics of being a user and the typical troubleshooting guidelines that have worked with pretty much every piece of technology ever, that and trusty old google. I use the terminal program on my mac for one command and when I learned that I was overjoyed. I had often stumbled upon a lot of websites that touted slogans like “easy coding”, “learn to code for free” or “code in under 3 hours” and meant to come back to them when I had a bit more free time. Although, that free time on the internet rarely seems to come as there is always another video to watch or another social media feed to scroll through. Eventually I finally had no more excuses and had this site as motivation as to why I should push myself out of the dark ages of technology and learn something kids I was going to school with in elementary school were mastering, HTML.

I remembered one name from the list of sites that I had seen over and over again and directed my browser over to codecademy.com and after reading a review or two, which really did nothing more than delay the inevitable, I started. The course was estimated to take 7 hours, but I did not record the amount of time I spent actually using the site. One thing I can say is that it is geared at people at my level and maybe even lower. The program guarantees html and css literacy from the lowest level and really delivers. The greater course is broken down into a series of manageable lessons that are broken down even more into a series of small coding tasks. They motivate you to continue with popups that tell you how many days you’ve done in a row, or how many lessons total you’ve completed. The site works similarly to other free educational platforms like Duolingo in that it recommends you share your success through your social networks. Codecademy also prods you with emails, that you can manage on the site, congratulating you with your continued progress and, I presume, sending emails if you spend too many days away.

I found the pace at times to be rather slow and be more focused on achieving small milestones rather than teaching you to apply your skills to larger projects, however this was only a handful of times that I felt this way. The site also offered more direct courses in order to focus your learning towards building a website, creating a web app, etc. but for me I felt the general introduction was necessary. I worked with the site nearly every day for a week until I passed the course and found that I had a more than decent understanding of codes but, that I would not be able to create my own site from scratch without a lot of research into html commands and css commands still.

Seeing as I work in WordPress for all of my clients I was hoping to move from html/css directly to php which is what most of WordPress is written in. When I came to the php lesson I quickly learned that I was expected to know both html/css and javascript because that was the next language lesson offered by the site before php. Despite the way that the site builds on the languages they expect you to have previously learned they do not increase the pace despite the later lessons being for those who obviously have more programming experience.

Taking all of this into account I will most likely continue with the lessons in javascript and hopefully move onto php, but as I find them less applicable to the tasks i need them for I think the congratulatory emails and popups may not be enough to keep me motivated to continue learning with codecademy. In the future I may try to “trial by fire” learn php, which in some respects has already started, or I may look at other similar sites. I am assuming that codecademy.com will go on to follow programs like Duolingo and let you compete with your social media friends, but all in all it is a great way to get the basics of coding down very quickly.