Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 13th Apr 2012 20:21 UTC
In the News Six-month-old web site Codecademy claims you can learn programming through its online tutorials. The free modules on JavaScript are now available. The site also allows anyone to post their own programming courses. The site has good funding, but question is: can you really learn programming this way? One blogger enthuses that Codecademy's approach "looks like the future of learning to me," while another slams it saying "Seriously? Wow, bull**** badging and sh**ty pedagogy wins the day in ed-tech investing." What do you think?
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I think it depends on the person
by phoehne on Sat 14th Apr 2012 03:14 UTC
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I've been trying to write a response to this and I keep starting over. This touches on a raw nerve for me because a number of people I've worked with didn't think my job consisted of anything more than knowing a computer language. There's a lot more to it, working as a professional software developer, than knowing Java, C, Ruby or PHP. None of it is secret, but there's a rigor to a formal education that's missing from a lot of self taught coders that I've met. I've seen self taught coders get stumped on what, for most well educated CS graduates, would be a straight-forward matter of language parsing, or even simple finite state machines.

I say this as someone who taught himself C++ on a Mac 6100/60 in the mid 1990s. Long story short, the formal education is why I can think problems through on several layers. I think it's possible to get rich just knowing some PHP and having a great idea. I also think it's possible for self taught coders to absorb, over enough time, the same information I got in a class room setting. I just don't think, for the average person, those are likely outcomes. If you are serious about developing software, then you should get an education in computer science from a decent school. If you want to scratch the itch, or think you have that great idea and just need to get a prototype, then feel free. Just don't confuse that with what a solid education brings to the table.

Edited 2012-04-14 03:16 UTC

Reply Score: 5