Tech Brief : Coding

Today’s topic touches on the scary….well maybe not so scary world of coding. I’ve been contemplating this topic for awhile and wanted to share a few resources that can help you get started. The Obama administration has taken some serious strides to promote STEM learning throughout all US schools. Part of this new focus involves the subjects of computer engineering and science. There can be a certain level of intimidation when considering these paths, but there are a lot of cool things you can do once you get past the initial fear.

I’m not an engineer and my background is not in computer science. What you may not know is that I’m self taught in what I like to call the “art of web development”. Web development encompasses a number of internet based languages that comprise all of the web pages you visit on a daily basis. It can be challenging, but there are several resources available that actually get you up and running (for free) in no time! Now, let me introduce you to a few.

Codeacademy is where it all began for me. The website is completely free and contains interactive lessons on Ruby, Python, JavaScript, HTML and much more. Each lesson has written instructions that guide you through the process of creating your own websites and even games. You can get started by signing up with a e-mail and password or through an existing social media account (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

Treehouse is a paid service, but offers a 9 dollar monthly subscription to active students. This site is probably the most comprehensive resource I’ve utilized firsthand. There are hundreds of videos, forums and resources to supplement your learning. You can learn in “tracks” based on what your end goal might be (i.e web design/development, game design, audio visual and more). Tracks are completed through writing code and practice quizzes.

Google University and i Tunes U offer courses that teach web and application development for free. Classes through i Tunes U are offered by leading academic institutions (such as Standford and MIT) and follow similar structure to courses taken by their respective students. Google University was designed to teach basic to intermediate levels on everything Google. Android, Python, PHP and more can be found under their course offerings.

The number of resources at your fingertips are endless. I encourage each and every one of you to embrace your creative side and seek out the information relevant to you. The task is not as impossible as you may think. Who knows, you may create the next big thing. Stay hungry and keep learning.

Justin

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