Is the Codeacademy well suited for learning HTML CSS

Learn to program with the Codecademy

A guest article by Rico Weigand

The US startup Codecademy has now taken on this educational gap and offers a completely free service with which you can use exercises to build up a sound basic knowledge. Among other things, you can learn HTML & CSS, PHP and JavaScript, but also Python, Ruby and jQuery.

In this post I would like to share my experiences with Codecademy with you and give you a few tips to get you started quickly.

1. The course selection

When you have registered, you will find a dashboard from which you can select a corresponding course. At the top of the page you will find various developer skills that you can start if you have already found your way into a development language. In the “Make a Website” course, for example, you create a copy of the Airbnb website step by step using HTML and CSS.

If you are already familiar with web languages ​​and have a good command of Javascript, you can also take the “Make an interactive Website” course. For the “Make a Rails App” project, you have to be able to master Ruby.

If you start from scratch, however, these courses will not do you any good. Then you should start with the "Language Skills" and work your way up here step by step. The problem is that although the term “beginner” is noted on each of these courses, you will need some knowledge of other languages. I therefore recommend always starting with the HTML & CSS course. This will teach you the most basic knowledge of web design and will give you a good basis to continue.

Your next course should then be JavaScript. This course is much more demanding, but if you add jQuery right away, you can already create an interactive website, similar to that of Flipboard.

If you have also managed that, you have the choice yourself whether you develop Python, PHP or Ruby. These languages ​​are independent and therefore do not depend on one another. However, since PHP is the most widely used, it makes sense to continue with that language.

2. The course

When you have found your course, you have to click on "Start" and you are ready to go. Your browser window is now divided into two columns.

  1. On the left is a description that explains your learning content.
    Read this content carefully. It is important and should be internalized well by you, as every step builds on one another. Then turn to the task under the description.
  2. To solve this you have to put the knowledge applied in the description into practice in the text field on the right. If you are of the opinion that you have solved the problem correctly, you can click on "Save and Submit" to see if you are correct.

If you are wrong, this will be shown to you with a red box. In the white box to the right of the code you also have the opportunity to view your result immediately.

3. Assistance

Of course it can happen that you don't recognize your mistake immediately and get stuck. In this case you have two options. On the one hand, there is a hint for almost every task that you can unfold. On the other hand, Codecademy offers a separate forum for each service section, in which you can post your questions. Either another student will help you or you will get help from the moderator of the forum, who is a professional in the respective field.

If there is also fundamental content, the makers of Codecademy have provided a glossary that summarizes the content described in the course.

My conclusion

Codecademy really isn't a bad thing for getting a good basic knowledge of programming languages. I have already completed the HTML & CSS course and built a website based on it. But you have to be aware that you are not yet professionals with the courses at Codecademy. Only through further specialist reading, a lot of time and practice, can you really do professional work.

My only drawback at the moment is that the service is not available in German and there is no implementation for smartphones or tablets. But if you have a reasonably good command of the English language, you will get along well with Codecademy. In addition, it has already been announced that a German translation will be available soon.

As Tony de Araujo (moderator of the JavaScript forum) wrote:

“Programming is like playing an instrument. You get better with every exercise you do. "

Codeacademy: Enriching IT teaching

Codecademy offers much more than just publicly available, free courses. For teachers there is an extension of the service that enables them to register their classes with Codecademy, to manage them and to track the progress.

But that's not all. So that teachers can prepare quickly and safely for the lesson, Codecademy also offers a special teacher training course, in which the educators are explained how to convey the learning content to their students in the best possible way.

Associated with this is a comprehensive curriculum that divides the content into school hours and begins with HTML & CSS as described above and works its way through to Ruby.

This program is already very well received in the United States and the United Kingdom. But I can imagine that many computer science teachers here in Germany would like to work with Codecademy.


About the author

Hi everyone, I'm Rico Weigand, I love technology and I am currently trying to refresh my knowledge of web development. Currently passive blogger. You can find my portfolio here, you can reach me on Twitter.