Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Learning to Program


I recently came across a few resources that I thought I'd pass along to those of you who may be interested in learning to program.

First is Code Academy, a new website that is designed to quickly and gently introduce you to JavaScript programming (a common way to write programs for the web).  It really lowers the barrier to entry by presenting you with your first exercise right on the front page of their site.  They have created a movement called Code Year to teach as many people as possible how to program in 2012.  They will be adding exercises and lessons every week, all year long.  Its a great opportunity to get the basics of how programming works right in your web browser.

Learn to program with Code Academy here.


Second is a personal favorite, Khan Academy.  If you don't know about Salman Khan and his academy, you are really missing out.  He has over 2700 short videos on topics ranging from addition to diabetes to hedge funds that are useful to school age children and adults alike.  It is a truly amazing resource.  Right now, though, I just want to mention that he has a few new videos on Computer Science.  In his usual disembodied voice, screencast format, he teaches you about the programming language Python, which is a great interactive language for learning and is used in many websites you use every day.
One item of note is that Khan Academy uses a free Python programming environment that is PC based.  If you happen to have a Mac, you'll need to find something else.  I just started playing with a nice environment called PyCharm which is a paid program, but it does include a 30 day trial which would probably be enough to get you through the Khan Academy classes.  I'll keep my eyes open for a free alternative.

Learn to program with Khan Academy here.