Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

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#1 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Post icon  Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:31 AM

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During my morning browse around the net I caught wind of an article on CNN Money today titled "Code Year Draws 200,000 Aspiring Programmers" which details a project called "Code Year". It is put on by a website called CodeAcademy.com and I visited it awhile ago and thought it was an idea, but still very basic (they try to teach "real programming" through small Javascript lessons).

I guess they even have Michael Bloomberg signing up which is a real surprise. Now, the question to all of you is... do you think trying to teach the masses using simple lessons in Javascript a good thing or a bad thing for our industry?

My opinion is that this is going to take a bunch of programmer wannabes, give them a few simple Javascript lessons and then make them think they can compete for programmer jobs with real trained professionals. Or worse yet get them trained in Javascript and make other employers think they can do things like maintain full websites, dive into e-commerce solutions, or even make an easy transition into desktop languages like C++ or VB. I don't even want to think of the cross over some of these people may try from Javascript to PHP/Python etc.

Your thoughts of what this might do?

:)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 06 January 2012 - 11:31 AM


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Replies To: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

#2 Bladescope  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:44 AM

I think you hit the nail on the head with the last few points. I would think teaching Javascript, while it does teach some foundation key points about coding, shouldn't be the lessons given for people who are looking into coding for the first time.

Fair enough if the people learning are interested in learning Javascript specifically, but as you've pointed out, I think trying to transfer concepts learned through Javascript into other languages, especially older ones, may prove to be a bad move.

However, I do think the lessons are a good idea in general. Being able to provide a resource for helping others is a good idea, so long as they don't say they are fully industry ready.
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#3 nK0de  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

I recently started learning Javascript on my own. And while I just came across that site only yesterday! I signed up with an account just to check out what's going on there.. I completed some very simple (even for a noob) 'lessons' and gained and 'achievement' too. It only took me less than 5 mins to realize this ain't gonna get me anywhere. Sure it looks fun and nice to learn stuff that way but I have seen that its not so smooth in the industry. And the worst part is, there's no option to cancel my account there! :P

I've been using both dreamincode.net and stackoverflow.com for my questions and I think these are the best resources an upcoming developer can ever find. :)
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#4 AdaHacker  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:40 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 06 January 2012 - 01:31 PM, said:

...give them a few simple Javascript lessons and then make them think they can compete for programmer jobs with real trained professionals. Or worse yet get them trained in Javascript and make other employers think they can do things like maintain full websites, dive into e-commerce solutions....

You make it sound as if crap like this doesn't already happen. Hiring managers are constantly bombarded with resumes from people who are not even remotely qualified. Incompetent people routinely over-estimate their abilities - it's just human nature. Somebody reads "Teach Yourself Visual Basic in 21 Days" and thinks they can get a job as a programmer. It's been happening for years.

I don't think a site like this will have much real impact on the industry. Yeah, 200,000 people sounds like a lot, but let's face it - signing up for a website is easy. How many of them will stick with it beyond the basic classes? Probably not many. It's not bad as a PR stunt, and maybe it'll stir some interest amongst people who wouldn't otherwise be interested in programming, but I don't see it as fundamentally different from the million other self-training programs out there.
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#5 Apokio  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:17 PM

I don't think that many people will stick with it and those that do could actually turn out to be good programmers. I am not saying this should be the only source but those that are interested may look into other learning options and turn out to be good. Another good thing I think that could come out of something like this is showing people what programming is. Granted it is Javascript but it can show people kind of what it takes and may make someone understand programming a little better so they don't think the programmer at their company is a wizard and can make a computer do anything with a few key strokes.

i mostly for any kind of education and knowledge building tools and I see this as another one that could be added to someone's learning material to help further knowledge and promote higher thinking and study.
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#6 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

Just because you read a book or used an "INTERACTIVE" learning site does not mean that you're ready for the real world aka "The Industry".

My 2 cents.

This post has been edited by Mikhail: 06 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

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#7 111027  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:25 PM

"Bad programming is easy. Idiots can learn it in 21 days, even if they are dummies". Nuff said.

To be more detailed, this kind of thing's been happening since before i knew how to write a line of code myself. You have all these random courses that offer 'computer programming' classes with HTML/Php and Visual Basic and the likes, which is good for the uninitiated. But then i've met a person too many who have told me they're a programmer and can't write a goddamn hello world.
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#8 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:39 PM

As many have pointed out the "idiots in the industry" phenomenon is already real. I totally agree. However, what I think a site like this is going to do is help break down the little barriers we have left on the industry. They are doing this on purpose. Make everyone a programmer! The problem is, not everyone is a programmer and should not be lead to believe that if you can write code you can work as a programmer.

You could go through all the steps of a programming course, even get a degree and still not have the "knack" for programming. As I am sure most of you guys can see being a programmer is just as much about creativity, resourcefulness and even a lifestyle.

I guess what I just don't want to see is an influx of idiot programmers and amplify the phenomenon. :)
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#9 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:41 PM

I'll agree with that, just because you know a programming language that does not make you a programmer just as knowing math does not make you mathematician.

From my experience you only become a good programmer with time, no you wont get it in 21 days, not in a month, not in 6 months, not in a year sure you'll learn the concepts but without the proficiency and repetitive practice you wont excel sure you will know the concepts however you wont be a pro at programming. Programming is a skill that takes years of mastery and countless nights without sleep you wont earn it overnight and last of all it's not for everyone.
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#10 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:58 PM

almost every-time I use software now I wish I could configure it with something like Lua. If teaching the masses to use such a feature would allow more advanced configuration options then I'm all for it.

I would *hope* that this would raise general knowledge of programing but It could backfire by generating "an influx of idiots in the industry". I don't think this would really cause an issue however. IMO, the idiots that are going to end up with jobs are probably going to do so regardless of this.
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#11 master.bennett  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:20 PM

I guess this might be a good time to point to my sig.

Even though I have been learning for over a year, I still don't consider myself a programmer yet which is should probably be the attitude for most people.

I had an interview for a industry leading tech company a little over a month ago by one of the senior programmers who after asking me what my long terms plans are, proceeded to tell me that even with 20 years experience he does not consider himself a C++ expert.

He was known in the open source industry as well.
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#12 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:25 PM

I think it analogous to when Camcorders became affordable, it didn't turn every who used one into the next Spielberg.

Just looks at all the crap on YouTube, lowest common denominator shit.

You get out the effort you devote to learn the subject, most people (I feel) want instance results.
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#13 AlbuquerqueApache  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:27 PM

I wpouldnt worry aboutthis one site being a downfall to programmers.

There is a flood of people wo I would term as incompetent in the IT field adn it is a result of employers and a bad economy.


I ahve seen employers who "Only hire from the inside" for technical positons, or in other words, they hire only incompetent people they have to invest hug amounts of money into. Eh, to each their own.

employers also encourage the over estimation of abilities by 1. doing a keyword search adn 2. encourage an over exaggeration of people's abilities

notice the time progression of this position and the associated pay per/hr:



street cleaner(min wage) -> janitor(10.00) -> custodian(15.00) -> Customer Floor Courtesy attendant(20.00) -> floor technician(25.00) (not joking, I have seen this posted by my former employer) -> floor engineer(50.00) -> floor rocket scientist(100.00) -> floor physicist(150.00) -> Floor CEO(250.00) -> Floor President of the united states! (wages go down at this point)

for fun:

http://youtu.be/SP8tTGfm4jU
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#14 Apokio  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 06 January 2012 - 02:39 PM, said:

As many have pointed out the "idiots in the industry" phenomenon is already real. I totally agree. However, what I think a site like this is going to do is help break down the little barriers we have left on the industry. They are doing this on purpose. Make everyone a programmer! The problem is, not everyone is a programmer and should not be lead to believe that if you can write code you can work as a programmer.

You could go through all the steps of a programming course, even get a degree and still not have the "knack" for programming. As I am sure most of you guys can see being a programmer is just as much about creativity, resourcefulness and even a lifestyle.

I guess what I just don't want to see is an influx of idiot programmers and amplify the phenomenon. :)


This happens to every field at some point. In the automotive field this happens all the time. There are courses you can take to learn to fix your car. The guys working the counter at the parts store think they are mechanics but can they actually do it for a living? It will have some effect on the industry if everyone is a programmer just the same as everyone is a mechanic. There will be people that screw it up for the good programmers. I don't think it is something that will ruin the industry for good programmers.

This post has been edited by Apokio: 06 January 2012 - 02:31 PM

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#15 CTphpnwb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Codeacademy.com, Good Idea or Disaster for Programmers?

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:47 PM

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I'll take the contrarian view: Aren't they just trying to do what Dream In Code is doing? Aren't they really only helping people who are interested in programming? I can't see my wife for example, ever going to their site, so they can't make everyone a programmer. We get tons of bad programmers here. Should they be turned away?

In the end, if you want to become a programmer (or other field name here) then that's going to depend on your ability to learn and your drive to do it. No site is going to change that.
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