CodeAcademy – Democratizing Computer Programming Education


Computer programming get’s a bad rap. The perception is that only Mr. Spock-types with a bent for math and caffeinated beverages are good at writing computer programs. Combine that perception with college courses that take students through stacks, linked lists, binary math, and compilers, and you end up with a narrow segment of the student population that is still interested in learning to write computer programs. Of course, things like linked lists, binary math, and compilers are important if you’re planning to be a computer engineer. But what if you just need to learn to write Javascript so that you can get a job as a web designer or App developer? Those jobs pay pretty well, are rewarding, creative, and constantly changing. People that work in online programming are frequently not educated as engineers–they’re moms, 12 year-old kids, history majors, artists, biologists, musicians, and even chefs. Web designers and developers are creative, bright, interesting, informed, and engaged people with an extremely eclectic mix of education and skills. The online landscape continues to grow and change with technological advances in both devices and bandwidth. Why not connect bright, quirky people from everywhere, of any age, gender, educational background, and occupation around a free, online learning platform for building the web!

Enter CodeAcademy. It’s free. It’s simple. It’s in the cloud. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It’s in demand. It’s for everyone.

CodeAcademy drops the techie lingo, explains why and how code works, breaks tasks down into tiny steps, and rewards success with achievement badges. This approach is especially appealing to kids. Guess what, kids are not afraid of computer programming. Kids will rock CodeAcademy because the interface is extremely simple and intuitive, the instruction is written in plain language, and progress is rewarded. CodeAcademy, although not optimized for mobile devices, works perfectly well on an iPod touch or iPhone, making it accessible even to people who do not have access to a computer. Accessibility is a significant attribute considering that, according to comScore, more than 42% of smart phone users use their devices daily to browse the internet

So far, Javascript appears to be the only programming language available on CodeAcademy, but it promises Ruby and Python courses soon.  Hopefully, CodeAcademy can get the support and attention that Khan Academy received so that it, too, can create a paradigm shift toward online learning for everyone.

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Gina is an Content Marketing Manager for a large tech company and a TEDster. She's a mash-up of physics, entrepreneurship and industrial engineering and loves to write about the intersection of business, technology, and humanity. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing TEDx events and delving into quirky technology projects with her preteen son.