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Posted on 2013-10-04

As I stated in the previous post, I’m going to be attending DevBootcamp this upcoming January.  The official preparation begins on November 4th, but before that point they want you to at least go through the Codecademy tutorials on HTML/CSS, Javascript, and jQuery.  So that’s what I’ve been spending my free time doing this week.

Keep in mind that these comments are only about the official tutorials that I’ve tried, but I have mixed feelings on Codecademy.  I appreciate them and what they’ve set out to do, and it’s definitely helping me learn what I need to learn, but the pace at which it advances can be frustrating, especially if you’ve completed multiple courses.  All the official tutorials assume that you have no prior programming knowledge.  At one point I was going through the loops section of the Javascript tutorial, and a popup appeared congratulating me on writing my very first loop.  This felt pretty silly considering that they know I’ve completed 3 or 4 other courses on their site, all of which contained a lengthy and drawn out section on loops.

I might be being unreasonable, but I wish that the official tutorials were dynamic in nature.  It’d be cool if they took into account what programming concepts they’ve covered in other courses that you’ve done, and just went over the syntax and any language specific features that you should know about for those concepts.

My other complaint with Codecademy is that it doesn’t require much in the way of problem solving or abstract thinking.  These are the aspects of programming that I get excited about and enjoy, yet I feel that they’re almost entirely lacking here.  What they have you do instead is follow a series of instructions on the side which outline step by step what you need to do, which doesn’t sound too bad, but to me it almost felt like I was copying/pasting from the side bar.

I’m sure this would be a nightmare to create, but I wish there were some open ended challenges to complete within the language specific tutorials.  The most open ended tutorial I went through on the site was a Javascript tutorial asking you to write the FizzBuzz program, which is the following: 

"Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”."

I feel like we can do better. I feel like having a more interesting and open ended challenge will do a better job conveying whatever concept they're trying to convey better than the alternative of having a step by step process which you repeat without thought.

I saw the section on Web Projects, which sounds like it might be something more along the lines of what I want to do (?), but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to have some more open ended stuff in considering the main courses take hours to complete.

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