Learn JavaScript with free weekly courses from Codecademy

 A lot of people want to know how to program but don’t know where to start. It’s a complicated and confusing topic, and there are hundreds of guides teaching dozens of languages. However, a new company called Codecademy has taken a lot of the uncertainty and doubt away from learning to program in its year-long course Code Year.

What Is Code Year?

Code Year is simply a (free) initiative by Codecademy that provides weekly lessons on programming, currently focusing on JavaScript. Through Code Year, every week subscribers receive a new link in their inbox asking them to take the week’s course in JavaScript, like the following:

Getting Started

That code in first screenshot in this article (the upper right) may look a little complicated. But that’s because I’ve been using Code Year for over eight weeks and have had a chance to challenge myself. You can do the same.

When you first start, you’ll be introduced to basic things like syntax and functions:

Most of the time weeks are divided into around seven sections, which is helpful for pacing yourself (you can just do one section per day). However, if you are starting now you’ll want to do finish the lessons faster then you normally would because Code Year is already eight weeks in and you have a bit of catching up to do:

Even though there is a lot of stuff, you’ll find yourself desiring to go through it all quickly. It’s like how you want to keep turning the pages of a good book. And go ahead, that’s fine!

Every week things will get more and more complicated as you learn and begin to understand more code. This past week users created a mini blackjack game:

All in all, Code Year is a great way to learn to program, given that you’re motivated enough. Especially since it is free.

Signing up

So where do you sign to begin? You sign no where. All you have to do is head to Codecademy’s homepage and start typing — the window on the left of the homepage is a real, working console:

As you finish steps/lessons, you will be asked to progress to the next lesson until you catch up to the latest one. Then you wait until the next lesson is out (they are released weekly). If you want to receive weekly e-mail reminders about new lessons, you can signup for notifications from Code Year’s homepage:

Conclusion

As you can see, Codecademy has definitely made it easy to get started with learning programming and an overall fun task for all. I’ve had a really great time learning to program JavaScript and hope that the program continues on for as long as it takes for me to become an expert!

You can get started with Codecademy and Code Year from the links below:

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14 comments

  1. Jyo

    @Col. Panek: I only used their c++ tutorials because I too needed to brush up on it a year ago. For web development it’s probably better to use w3schools and other more well known sites. I never programmed Arduino but I bet you need to do further research yourself – but this site gets you going quick on the basics if you are completely new.

  2. Bourney

    I decided a while back to give this a go and see how they teach someone totally new to coding, I’m not exactly new to coding but I wanted to see from the totally newbie perspective and also learn a little more myself with the help of this type of teaching. Unfortunately I stumbled across a few of the lessons that were not very well explained which grounded me to a halt until I could figure out the solution myself. I therefore don’t recommend these lessons for someone totally new to coding. Considering Javascript is mainly used in WebDesign I would first recommend learning HTML and CSS etc from w3schools.com before attempting Javascript.

  3. zephyrdell

    Decided to post this comment. I decided to try this to learn something different. However, I face the same thing with the web site that I do with Target.com and one other site that gave me the same report after clicking on the link above. “I need to upgrade my browser or use Chrome, etc.” below.

    I am using IE8 and tried to get an answer after not being able to access Target.com awhile back. Yes, I switched to Chrome and can do it with the above links, but I was wondering why just a few sites tell me this when I use IE8* Help!

  4. Jyo

    I saw this on the news once, where they said even NY’s Mayor Bloomberg is learning how to code from this website.

    @Terry: lol768 is right. If you actually compare many of the “scripting languages” and the “programming languages” out there, there aren’t that many differences between them, aside from the syntax of the languages. At least that is the case when you are learning the fundamentals. When you do get deeper and learn about the more advanced topics, then the differences become more apparent (but that only happens when you are actually serious about programming).

    Take php and c++ for example. php is considered a scripting language while c++ a programming language, but at the fundamental level, they both follow the same concepts. They both have for loops, while loops, functions, variables, if, else statements. This is why they say it doesn’t really matter what programming language you start with.

    I think you should still try out codeacademy because it is free after all, and if you are serious about programming, you’re probably gonna have to learn javascript eventually anyways.

  5. lol768

    @Terry While you’re right that JavaScript is a scripting language, I see no reason why it can’t be used to introduce and teach the basic concepts of progamming – e.g. variables, loops, functions etc.

  6. Terry

    Think like a programming Ninja? If that’s the language being used in their lessons, I’ll pass. I don’t like to be called a ninja and uhm, Javascript is a scripting language, for scripters, not a programming language, for programmers. Yeah, I wanna go there.

  7. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    I read about Codecademy sometime ago. Interesting concept. I wonder how they plan on making money — paid courses in the future? Do you know if they plan on doing more than JavaScript courses? PHP and CSS, in my opinion, are critical for anyone that wants to make a good website.