Codecademy Could Make You a Coding Teacher, Too

Codecademy, one of the startups in a boomlet of sites offering to teach people to code, soon will allow anyone to submit lessons.

The Wall Street Journal says more than one million people, including New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, signed up for Code Year, a year-long program of interactive lessons on JavaScript. Its site, however, puts the number at less than 400,000. But still …

The brainchild of Columbia University classmates Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski recently landed $2.5 million in venture financing to expand into languages such as Ruby and Python.

Its peer-to-peer coding lessons began in private beta last week and are due to open to the public within weeks. The lessons, which can include text and video, initially will come from professors and programmers. The site will suggest certain ones based on popularity and completion rate, the Journal says.

It quotes Sims saying:

A college professor at Harvard, for instance, may not be the best person to teach you Python. It might be someone who works in the industry who teaches Python day to day.

It’s not only a way for the site to scale, but also to create a community of engaged users, says the article, which also points out that there might be legal issues with copyrighted code, something the site certainly will have to address.

The site also has partnered with the White House on a condensed program for underprivileged and disconnected youth called Code Summer+. Partners Foursquare, Twilio and other companies will be contributing lessons to that, according to TechCrunch.

8 Responses to “Codecademy Could Make You a Coding Teacher, Too”

  1. “A college professor at Harvard, for instance, may not be the best person to teach you Python. It might be someone who works in the industry who teaches Python day to day.”

    Perhaps Harvard should hire a better instructor to teach Python.

  2. I’m not sure why Joseph (the first commenter) feels we have enough codes. I as a HR Generalist of a Fortune 500 company can not find enough skilled developers!

    It’s great to see sites like Codecademy, TeamTreeHouse and CodePupil pop up.

    These sites are not going to immediately pop out expert coders, but they will indeed and are drawing in millions to learn how to code. Of course they are using gaming mechanics to do this, but this stuff needs to be made fun to learn! Make it more accessible to the masses & in time make our jobs (HR) easier to find the talent!

    • Carrie,

      With all due respect, if you “can not find enough skilled developers” you are either looking in the wrong place(s), or have unrealistic expectations. Where are you looking? What are your criteria for determining “skill”?

      There are many experienced coders/developers/engineers, or whatever term-du-jour you choose, with proven abilities in the REAL world, not academia. I dare say many of them, including myself, learned more than one tool on-the-job when time was of the essence. The end result of that is many of us know more than one language, more than one OS, more than one industry, and have developed exceptional problem solving ability and technical support skills. Sadly, rather than provide them the opportunity to continue working at their craft, and pass on their knowledge, you would rather seek and hire a one trick pony like “Jonny Java”, “Virtual Bill”, or “MicroSauce Sam”.


      • I think comments like this are unfair. They ignore the fact that new areas are coming to the fore — things like gaming and big data — which often require new skills, or at least new approaches to old ones. I don’t think it’s wrong for companies to search for people who are well-versed not just in the latest tools, but in the dynamics of these new businesses as well. It does seem like that’s an issue with a lot of employers.

        And I can never understand why people beat up HR or hiring managers when they share what they’re looking for. You may not like what they have to say, but they are, after all, the people who are doing the hiring.

        That’s not to say we shouldn’t point out tactics or areas they may not have thought of. But saying people who are versed in newer tools like Java or whatever are one-trick ponies just isn’t true.

    • My apologies for what has been interpreted as an attack, however, I don’t believe I am ignoring anything.

      I stand by my statement that if these companies cannot find enough coders (what used to be called programmers, then became software engineers, or developers) that meet their specs, either the specs are unrealistic, the search is in the wrong area, or they simply don’t want to hire a person with proven “coding skill” that will need to learn the tool being used.

      If other stories are to be believed, there are companies fretting about the younger set being unable to maintain the considerable amounts of code that already exists but is written in languages not considered “cool”.

      So, it seems the old folks don’t know the new stuff (and won’t be given the opportunity to learn, or are not interested in learning it), the new folks don’t know the old stuff (and perhaps don’t want to learn it.

      Meanwhile, noone can find enough skilled coders.

      • James Green

        I agree 100% with both of Mike post. Companies can’t find good developers because what there asking for is un-reasonable. Recently I saw a job on indeed for an C#/Sql application developer. I read the job duties which was package long in which you need to have 8 – 10 years of experience in tools I’ve never heard off. In addition the want you to have 8 – 10 years of experience as a database administrator in addition to being an applications developer. I think Since the company want applicants to do the work of 2 or 3 people I wonder if the are willing to pay twice or 3x the salary.