/Learning to Code/

codeI’ve recently been exploring a site called Free Code Camp and it has been absorbing entirely too much of my free time.

I’ve dabbled with code before- I’ve done a limited amount of SQL both for work and on CodeAcademy as well as some basic javascript and HTML. However, the reason I want to talk about Free Code Camp is because I think they have a really neat concept and a very linear structure of execution.

Free Code Camp is unlike Code Academy, or some other code sites because instead of giving you a random number of things to pick from that you can learn the site goes in a very specific order. Initially you start by learning HTML and CSS, and then JQuery, followed by a set of “beginner front end developer projects”.

Here is my first completed project-First Project on CodePen

The curriculum continues by gradually introducing more assignments for different types of coding, and works it’s way through Intermediate  and Advanced Projects. Once completed you get a certification for ‘Front End Web Developer’.

That’s only the first 3rd of the program. As you continue past that, in the same format of assignments and projects, you also achieve a certification in Data Visualization, and then Back End Web Developer, at which point you’ll have finished all the lessons.  I think it goes without saying that there is no cost for Free Code Camp.

One thing that attracted me to Free Code Camp is that once you’ve achieved these advanced stages, you can partner with other coders, and complete projects for non profit organizations right through the site. It’s a great way to build a portfolio of work, gain experience, and give back to the community. All the help for the exercises and projects comes from the forums on GitHub, and you can also volunteer in the forums to help people who have not yet advanced as far as you.

A neat aside-Free Code Camp has been added on LinkedIn as an education option for your profile.

Another site I’d like to mention is Udacity because they have a really impressive easy to follow format for their classes. They offer both paid programs, which they call Nanodegrees, as well as free courses. I supplemented some of my Free Code Camp learning by reviewing Udacity’s courses on similar topics (like HTML and CSS).

The timeline listed for Udacity is much longer, but I think that’s because they are much more thorough in their explanations whereas Free Code Camp (or CodeAcademy for that matter) are very limited in their explanations and focus on learning by doing and repetition.

I was really impressed by Udacity because of the way their courses are put together- in the first five minutes I was expecting bullet point learning objectives like so many other companies do, but it never happened. Instead, the objectives were presented in more of a conversational style between the Udacity instructor and another person from a partner company. (Many of Udacity’s courses partner with Google, Facebook, Github and others.)

The visuals and metaphors they use are exceptional and really contribute to making the concepts easy to understand for people who have no technical experience whatsoever, and it also includes experience by doing similar to the other sites. Depending on how you learn best, and your level of experience this may also be a great alternative or addition to other sites like  Free Code Camp

Whether you are just looking to learn new skills for the sake of learning, or seeking a new career this is one of the many great options available to you.

Happy learning.

Have you tried any of the sites listed above?
Which did you prefer and why?
Is there another resource that you use?
What is it, and why do you like it?




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