Archives for : October2012

Exercising Mind and Body

Last year Ryan was looking for ways to learn to code. After trying books, videos and articles, he stumbled upon Codecademy. Armed with the skills he learned there, Ryan wanted to build something of his own.

How did you get into programming?

I work as a Network Administrator, but to be honest I didn’t know the first thing about web programming. I found dozens of sites and examples that got me going a little bit, but it wasn’t until Code Year began that it made any sense to me and started to stick.

Did you need to learn other languages to do that?

All of my code in Sworkit is based on HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery. I use a platform called Phonegap to convert the code into native device apps.

At the end of Code Year you did more than just learn to code, you created a fitness app! Were the two related?

The key function for Sworkit, which randomizes workout exercises, is actually adapted from a lesson very early on in Code Year!

The third project you do in Code Year is about building a Dice Game. You’d write var die = Math.floor(Math.random()*6 + 1);.

In Sworkit I ended up using a similar function, var workoutFull = chosenWorkout.sort(function() { return 0.5 – Math.random() });.

Sworkit has been featured in big technology blogs like Lifehacker and Gizmodo, with over 130,000 times. How does it feel?

Those numbers may seem small to some and big to others, but I am completely humbled by the support I’ve received. From the start, I’ve been driven to go beyond being just a consumer of applications made by others and instead to create something of my own.

Would you say it was worth it? Sworkit has proven to be my chance to give something back. It is my most rewarding project ever.

Codecademic – neuroscientist discovers Javascript

When I’m interested in how our brains support our memories, I use brainscanners. When I’m interested in how our memory systems behave in and of themselves, I simply sit people in front of a computer and get them to do the memory tests without any other fancy equipment, Akira explains.

The only problem with sitting people in front of computers is that it takes up a lot of time. A 40 minute memory test ends up taking several hours of Akiras work time.

“I have long been interested in learning how to present experiments to people online, because it would allow me to reach a far greater number of people and allow me to use my own time far more efficiently. That’s where Codecademy comes in.”

Akira wrote a small survey program to collect data from test users.

“What I found wonderful was that Javascript allowed me to measure exactly what I needed to measure, button presses and response times, without the need to install any proprietary software. Codecademy got me through the difficult first stages of learning how to use it.”

As an instructor Akira believes in helping his psychology students to learn coding skills.

“Coding is the most versatile of transferable skills to be give to psychology graduates who (rightly) believe they are leaving university with the most versatile of degrees. I believe it would be very useful to teach cognitive neuroscience and psychology students all some coding skills. “

Teen duo from Texas codes a calculator

“I had looked into learning Javascript, but was too intimidated to start. Codecademy was perfect: we both really like learning by doing. We raced each other to see who could gather more points and finished the courses pretty fast,” explains Joah.

After completing the jQuery lesson track, Joah and Haley wrote their very own “Build A Calculator” course on Codecademy.

“We decided to build our own course for others to learn from. Joah worked on the instructions and I fiddled around with the tests,” says Haley.

“Afterwards, we received feedback and built another course, Build A Calculator II, which expanded the functionality of our original course.”

Joah is currently redesigning his personal website, building Javascript plug-ins, and freelancing as a web developer for local businesses. Haley also freelances, and is working towards a future project that will implement Rails and AngularJS.”

Code from Kenya

“During my internship last summer I got access to a computer on a daily basis. It was pretty much the first time I had a computer all to myself. I started googling how the Internet works and how I could master it. That’s where my journey with Codecademy started.”

Martha quickly realized coding could be something she wanted to do full-time.

“Learning code became my obsession. In June 2012, I took the little I had saved and bought a computer, installed Ubuntu and quit my internship.”

Martha spent hours practicing at the Nairobi iHub. Codecademy combined with the community helped her learn fast and in July she landed a job as a developer with a local Ruby on Rails boutique.

“Programming opened an unknown world to me. I was planning on going to medical school, like most top-students in Kenya do. Now I’m taking a year off to explore software development. I’m especially excited about the world of open source software.”

Best part about coding? Teaching and giving back to the community. Martha has authored some Ruby Gems and is now helping prepare the Codecademy Ruby track. She and her friends are also planning on classes to get even more Kenyan women excited about coding.

Comments? Join Martha’s Ruby beginners group

Resizable Editor: More Room for Your Code

Today we’re pleased to roll out one of your most-requested features: a resizable editor for your code! Now you have all the space you need—just click and drag anywhere along the gray bar at the bottom of the editor to resize it.

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Currently, only the height of the editor can be adjusted. This feature is now available on all Codecademy courses, so whether you’re writing a long nested list in HTML or a complex Ruby method, you can adjust your view to look at all your code at once.

What are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Codecademy college tour

Codecademy’s going on tour this fall. We’re visiting several colleges to meet with awesome programmers and designers who are passionate about changing programming education. Please spread the word!

If you’re interested in meeting one of our developers for dinner on these dates, please apply by sending Sasha your resume/CV and a little about you.

We’ll be on campus the following dates:

RISD Wed 10/17 Yale Fri 10/19 NYU Mon 10/22 Carnegie Mellon Tue 10/23 Columbia Thu-Fri 11/8-11/9 Princeton (date TBA)

We look forward to meeting you!

NYU partners with Codecademy

Last Friday, Codecademy and NYU held the first class to teach digital literacy and coding to NYU students. It was a rainy Friday morning, but more than 50 students packed into a classroom to attend this non-credit course (with another 170 on the waiting list). Run through NYU Steinhardt, the class will teach students how to code using Codecademy’s platform. When asked about the partnership, NYU’s Media, Culture and Communications Department Chair, Marita Sturken, said

“In today’s networked culture, learning the basic grammar of coding is an essential part of education, a skill that students will use in a broad range of professions. We’re happy to team up with Codecademy to help our students navigate this digital landscape more effectively and with greater insight.”

We’re really excited to be partnering with a world-leading institution like NYU and thrilled that our courses and learning environment have been incorporated into their curriculum. It’s great that educational institutions like NYU are keen to experiment with teaching methods, and we’re hopeful that we’ll see more of this in coming months. For more on this partnership, see this article in Wired magazine

Ruby and Python are Ready!

We’re pleased to make a dual announcement today: our brand-new Ruby track is now available and we’re promoting the Python track out of beta, adding a number of new courses to that track as well.

Since our Python track went into beta, we’ve been listening carefully to your feedback. We know many of you had problems running your code, and when we set out to add a Ruby track, we knew we had to do better. We totally rebuilt our systems from the ground up to give you a faster, more reliable experience. Today we’re excited to launch Ruby and re-launch Python on that platform.

We work hard to ensure your experience is as educational, helpful, and fun as possible, and we know it’s hard to learn when you suffer interruptions, no matter how infrequent or brief they might be. Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked to create a safe and stable interface for Ruby and Python, and we hope you enjoy our brand-new coursework.

If you encounter any problems or have feedback on these courses, please contact us; if you’re interested in creating additional Python or Ruby courses, please send me an e-mail.

Codecademy takes small steps into Colombia

Codecademy exists to teach the world how to code. Recently, we took a small step towards realizing this vision when we launched a partnership with the Colombian ICT Ministry. Together, we’ve managed to translate the courses into Spanish and make those courses available. In less than 2 weeks, we’ve had over 13,000 Colombians sign up for the Appsco initiative which is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in Colombia. When talking about the partnership, Appsco team leader, Claudia Obando, described it as “a great opportunity for Colombian people to access new ways of creating businesses and foster social change.” We’d like to thank our partners at the Colombian ICT Ministry who have been great to work with, as well as all those who have signed up to learn how to code.