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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Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Mod'ed down? The hell??

Reply Parent Score: 1

tuma324 Member since:
2010-04-09

Mod'ed down? The hell??


I mod'ed him down because he assumes that having a formal education makes you *better* than someone else without one. I kind of see some sense of superiority and arrogance in his post. Don't assume that you are better than a self-taught programmer just because you have a formal education.

How many times have I seen CS graduates moving to Finance or trying to get them to hire self-taught programmers because they didn't know enough of their craft to be able to complete a job?

Heck, I still get calls from people that are in their last year of Computer Science and they still come and ask me about Regular Expressions and for some help with their work, etc.

College is important and our society values it a lot, but it doesn't make you automatically better than anyone else for having one. That's overrated.

Edited 2012-04-14 05:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I mod'ed him down because he assumes that having a formal education makes you *better* than not having one.


He's entitled to that opinion. Feel free to argue against it.

How many times I have seen CS graduates moving to Finance because they didn't learned enough of their craft in the class room?


How many times I have seen self-thought programmers f--k up incredibly due lack of understanding of basic principles of program design? A lot. Does that prove anything? Maybe, maybe not.

Edited 2012-04-14 05:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

I mod'ed him down because he assumes that having a formal education makes you *better* than someone else without one. I kind of see some sense of superiority and arrogance in his post. Don't assume that you are better than a self-taught programmer just because you have a formal education.


Then here's another post you can mod down, because I'm just going to say that while having a higher education doesn't necessarily make you "better", preaching that no or less formal education can make you just as good is exactly as a generalized opinion as the one you're protesting against.

And forgive me, but experience - and not just mine - will probably easily prove that self-taught "programmers" are generally (yes, I said generally) usable as generic everyday coders, not engineers in real big complex demanding projects. And that's a big difference, and yes, it really has a connection with getting a degree. Not just with the paper, that's nothing, but the background, the insight, and maybe some experience that you might gather while trying to get it. Harsh? Maybe. Live with it.

[edit: some spelling]

Edited 2012-04-14 07:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

The reason I titled this "It depends on the person" is that you can get the understanding of networks, operating systems, databases, computer architectures, formal language theory, and analysis of algorithms, even if you don't go through a formal CS education.

"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."

What underlies the idea behind Codecademy is that knowing to code is the bulk of developing software. It's a common belief held by a lot of people. Know a language and then keep writing software and you'll be a good software developer. It does happen with some people, but not often. It may make you a good coder, but coding up the solution is sometimes the next to last step in a much larger process, and sometimes not as important as the analysis that goes behind the code. It's a little like saying all there is to being a chemist is mixing reagents.

Knowing how to code doesn't provide the mathematical tools to analyze algorithms to determine what algorithm may or may not be best, given small n, usually sorted large n, or why you need to randomize the order of the input array before you sort. Or for that matter, understand things like space/time tradeoffs. Most people are not likely to pick up a book on analysis of algorithms. They're not likely to pick up Knuth's books, nor are they likely to innately develop the mathematical skills that most people find very challenging.

Some people might read the above as saying people who are self taught will never learn these skills. If you take the time to actually read what I wrote, you'll notice I didn't say better, or that it was impossible to pick up these skills. Having a formal CS education doesn't make a better person, it doesn't make you smarter, taller or better looking. But known how to code does not make you a software developer than swinging a bat makes you a baseball player. There's a lot more to software development than just slapping code into an editor.

Edited 2012-04-14 14:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Sounds like someone has a huge chip on his/her shoulder!

Title of the original post: "I think it depends on the person"

Your response: "he assumes that having a formal education makes you *better* than someone else without one"

I thought he was being rather conservative in his appraisal of a formal education. Nowhere is he saying that you must be formally educated to be a good programmer, but rather that a CS degree brings a certain way of thinking that presumably could be gained elsewhere as well. And he definitely said nothing about being "better" than someone else. The arrogance is your own.

Disclaimer: I have no CS degree.

Reply Parent Score: 2