After Two Weeks of Codecademy…

After Two Weeks of Codecademy…


Image is credited to Hidden Discoveries.

For exactly two weeks, I’ve been dedicating almost everyday to do at least some programming/coding/learning languages after first watching the video about which featured Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other top tech folks that you hear in the news. I’ve always had interests in coding, so that’s not new, but the video just made me want to pursue it more.

So, a little bit about “background” – if you may – before I arrived to Codecademy. I first tried two books – one on Java and another on Python – for two different reasons. The textbook on Java was my first attempt – it was more like a classic “college style textbook” that you find in library, and while it was organized very well, I stopped at about page 200ish. It’s not that I didn’t understand what was going on (I did, I was typing the codes and taking notes for things that I felt important, like what is class, and so forth), but it was getting boring. You have to admit, most college students don’t actually even read textbooks by that same reason, and considering I had so much more to go, I decided to stop on this and consulted something else.

The Python book was chosen for two reasons. First, this was more like “dummies” style book so it was less “intensive” than the Java textbook I chose, and while it was great for what it was worth, I soon hit another road block on 200ish pages (don’t ask me why “200″ is the magic number here). Having come from Java “background” a little, I had much better understanding about terms like loop and if/else statements, and because Python had simpler structure in terms of compilers, it was far easier to move along. I think I managed to go about 30-40 pages on one sitting without much issue. The problem here was that because the book was relatively simple, I found myself understanding the solutions, but not so much to the level that I could generate on my own. I mean, I could to a certain degree – but it wasn’t pretty. And the book had a tendency to introduce multiple things at once, and while I understood the way it was done, I didn’t fully get why it had to be that way (instead of another ways). So, I stopped because going past this point will not certainly be as beneficial. That’s when I remembered video and went to the site to find Codecademy.

When I first came to Codecademy, my first reaction was, “They have Python course!” Yes! How exciting! I immediately joined and began my Python course. At first, it was a lot of review of what I learned, and having already “read” and “seen” loop and if/else agreement, I found most of lessons super easy. The issue occurred when I started to do some “projects” within the lessons, and they took forever – largely because the errors that Codecademy gave weren’t very helpful. I knew that my codes were sloppy and had errors, but it would’ve been better – far better, really – if the comments were more constructive. As a result, I found myself referring to Q&A Forums for some very difficult ones (and to be honest, poorly written lessons) because I could not find what was wrong with my code based on the feedback I received.

At about 70% completion of Python, I began to get bored. I guess that’s what happens when you are just going one after another without really getting nice feedbacks, so I moved to Web Fundamentals, which is really a fancy term for HTML and CSS. I had already been familiar with HTML and CSS through WordPress websites like this one, but never having actually done formal training in this field besides Dreamweaver back in high school, I wanted to give it a shot. The lessons, in my opinion, were much well-written and easier to follow. But then again, I had several years of WordPress editing/tweaking in my belt, so maybe, that’s why this one was easier to learn. I was able to finish the whole lesson quite quickly, and certainly felt that I became better at it.

So, right now, I am sitting at 459 points from Codecademy (check out my profile here) with 22% completion of Javascript, 81% completion of Python, 8% completion of PHP (really didn’t put efforts on this one) and 100% on Web Fundamentals. I have 44 so-called “badges” – which are nice to tell myself that I did put time and efforts past two weeks.


Image is credited to Hidden Discoveries.

I think right now is that 200ish pages for Codecademy for me – but this time, it’s different. I feel that I do understand coding and programming, but clearly, even if I finish both books and entire Codecademy website lessons, that still will NOT make me a full-trained programmer. Why? Because for one thing, Codecademy is all done online – you are not using a separate IDE, and there have already been differences about how some code work on IDE but not on Codecademy server from Q&A Forum. Plus, if you ever get a job as a programmer or developer, you will certainly be NOT using IDE, and there is definitely limitation on what Codecademy can do.

I’ve recently been reading about Dev Bootcamp, App Academy, and Hacker School – all for learning programming and software development but with actual results of getting jobs! Compared to these schools, what Codecademy provided may seem lacking, and in a way, it is. I certainly did not receive intensive mentoring and pair programming experience, but at the same time, I also did not have to relocate to San Francisco and pay for expensive housing (App Academy may be free, but San Francisco is ridiculously expensive to live – and they don’t tell you that!).

So, at this moment, I am certainly looking to expand what I have and hopefully, pick up more project-based experiences. For all of you out there who want to learn coding or at least approach it, I really recommend Codecademy. It will not get you jobs, nor it will really be a “real” programming, but it will give you confidence and basics to maybe, pursue real programming (I’ll be a bit unclear on that one – maybe a few months later, I can give a better response!).

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