My most difficult courses in college were the two Introduction to Computer Science courses I took as electives. I had built my own computer and could mess around with some configuration, but I’d never tried my hand at programming. I was way out of my league! I worked harder in these two courses than any other in my time at UW, all in order to receive the lowest grades I received during those four years. I remember pulling multiple all-nighters just to get my programs to meet the assignments’ requirements. I guess that was just the bare minimum, because I’d then hear stories of other projects that incorporated all kinds of other features I had no idea where to even begin with. Obviously I was not destined for a career in computer science.
Fast forward fifteen years, and I am still fascinated by how programs work. With most of our lives run by software, it almost seems as if coding is an actual superpower. Well, I decided I needed to be able to do something with code, so I looked around for some resources. I checked out a number of books and watched some YouTube, but it was really when I started taking the free courses on Codecademy that I started to make some headway. The lessons are designed for beginners and are well laid-out. They provide good context for why you are learning what they are teaching, and they give you a great interface in which to work and examine the results of your code. It is imperative that you are actually writing code when learning, and Codecademy gives you a number of projects with which to practice what you are studying. I found I got so much out of their free courses that I decided to embark on a paid track, covering website design and deployment. I am so thankful that this tool is available, as it has launched me on a new and exciting learning path. I’m thankful for the enjoyment I’ve experienced while learning to code with Codecademy.