One of my strategies for learning to program is to learn through as many media as possible. I started listening to this podcast on the treadmill today. It is not exactly for a true beginner, but they promise to explain some of the theory behind Rails, which is what I have been looking for.
I’m attempting to work through Codecademy again. It has improved a lot since I tried it for “Code Year” at the beginning of 2012, but I’m still not sure that it is the best way for a total newbie to start learning code.
Some of my concerns were echoed by Belle Beth Cooper awhile back. Most of the issues she brings up have not been resolved, particularly the problem of passing lessons with errors still in the code. I quit over this issue last time. (Oh, that and I was lazy.)
So what is different for me now?
First of all, I have a daughter. Nothing will light a fire under you to improve your employment prospects like having a baby.
Second of all, I’m not just doing Codecademy and expecting to learn to program. Here’s what else I’m up to:
- Stanford Programming Methodology on YouTube – I could only follow along for so long without actually doing the assignments, but the first few lectures totally changed how I think about programming. The professor is awesome and he explains programming in a way that makes sense. Codecademy only lets you practice how to do things; the Stanford videos help you understand why you are doing them.
- Coursera programming courses – These are great too! There is a self-paced CS 101 course from Stanford available anytime and Startup Programming starts today! The Python course from Rice was also recommended to me by another CAHM.
- Chris Pine’s Learn to Program – This book has been recommended by multiple people.
- Devcheats app – I have a dev cheats app on my phone. Today I was waiting for playgroup to start at the park and I just looked through the different languages. Can’t hurt!
- MeetUps – There are a ton of developer MeetUps in the Bay Area. With the baby, it’s hard for me to get away in the evening, but I am committed to getting to a class or hack night at least a couple of times each month.
- Learn Code the Hard Way – This series has been recommended to me by a few people. I am planning to start it after I am done with Codecademy.
Wow, that seems like a lot. Anything else I could try? Let me know!
Whether you are an experienced programmer or just learning (like me) while you take care of your little ones, join our community! I am typing this as Baby Z sleeps in my lap and I need other people who understand 🙂
Big thanks to the helpful ladies at DevChix for the tip! This course starts on Jun 17th and it is free. Hope to see some other CAHMs there!