Programmers Have a Wealth of Educational Resources

Instagram just sold for a billion dollars. Pinterest has become the third-leading social networking site in only a few months. Angry Birds is worth… who knows how much? It seems that writing a cool app has become something akin to playing the lottery, but with better odds of actually winning something.

What are the resources you use to keep your coding skills up to date? Tell us in the comments below. 

That’s why people are scrambling to learn the languages of the Internet. As The New York Times notes:

The market for night classes and online instruction in programming and Web construction, as well as for iPhone apps…is booming. Those jumping on board say they are preparing for a future in which the Internet is the foundation for entertainment, education, and nearly everything else. Knowing how the digital pieces fit together, they say, will be crucial to ensuring that they are not left in the dark ages.

If you’re experiencing that left-behind feeling, there are numerous options for learning HTML5, Java, JavaScript, .NET, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby and all the rest. Some classes are online and some are in classrooms. Some cost money and some are free. However, before you dive in, you should have a clear idea of what your goals are. Here’s a sampling of some good options that illustrate how varied the alternatives are:

  • Codecademy: This free site, based in New York, walks you through interactive lessons in various computing and Web languages.
  • CoderDojo: A CoderDojo is a free coding club for young people. There are several around the world.
  • General Assembly: New York’s best-known shared workspace and incubator is adding seven classrooms to try to keep up with demand for programming and entrepreneurship classes.
  • Girl Develop It: This female-focused meetup offers lessons in a variety of languages at reasonable prices.
  • Rails for Zombies: You can earn a Ruby on Rails certificate online.
  • Women Who Code: A meetup for women in tech, based in San Francisco.

Among the most popular places to begin an online coding education is Treehousewhich offers access to hundreds of educational videos at a cost of either $25 or $49 per month. Ryan Carson, its CEO, said last December that membership had been growing by 49 percent per month. His latest idea: Code Racer, a game-like learning environment where you race to finish coding assignments faster than your competitors.

This sudden surge in coding curiosity is part of a larger growth trend across all technical fields. The number of students who enrolled in CS degree programs rose 10 percent in 2010 (figures for 2011 aren’t available). Peter Harsha, director of government affairs at the Computing Research Association, said that figure had been climbing for the last three years, after a six-year decline in the wake of the dot-com bust. “To be successful in the modern world, regardless of your occupation, requires a fluency in computers,” he told the Times. “It is more than knowing how to use Word or Excel but how to use a computer to solve problems.”

Comments

  1. BY RMS says:

    The obvious question to ask regarding all of this freely (or not) available online training and such is: will successful completion and “badging” be acccepted as evidence you are functionally literate in the tool/language you have chosen, and are now good-to-go for using said newly acquired skill to benefit an employer? There are many folk with real world experience in several languages, etc. who cannot even score an interview. Are these courses seen as a viable means of re-entering the work force, and if so, please provide specific information regarding employers who are hiring folk who complete these courses.

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