Tag Archives: Code Academy

Coding – it isn’t how you speak it’s what you say

For a bit of a change of scenery I have been tinkering about with Code Academy, codeacademy a site that provides interactive courses that teach you how to code in different languages…… FOR FREE!  So far I have had a play with JavaScript and a bit of php.

I am also about half way through my computer science course (edX’s CS50 Introduction to Computer Science), we are still working in C language but I have got to a point where we are making programs that create windows with graphics in.  My last assignment was to make the game Breakout, you know the one with the bat and a ball and a wall of bricks to destroy?

Break Out
My version of Breakout created in C

I really am enjoying learning to code but there is something more important happening underneath all of this.  I have had a bit of a epiphany / light bulb / trumpety “herald the age of enlightenment” moment.  Coding isn’t about learning a whole language, so much as forming a set of ideas about how to make the computer do what you want it to.  Once you have this idea, you can set about pulling it apart to understand and then input the components that form the idea.  Whether in C or JavaScript or php the inputting seems all rather similar and familiar even though some of the terminology / semantics are different.  It is kind of like introducing yourself in different countries, the words of the language may be unfamiliar, the structure may be different but the basic idea is the same, you refer to yourself (I or my),  include a word for name (or am called), and give your name.

I can’t praise the course CS50x enough, I feel it is really giving me a base of how to think and problem solve.  This is such a positive feeling for me, going back a few months I was really intimidated by the enormity of what there is to learn in this field.   A combination of the confidence the course has given me, a realisation (yet again!) that I don’t have to know or learn every minute detailed thing, just the important bits – the concepts, the ideas, the frameworks rather than masses and masses of information and terminology.   It also helps that the IT-Rex keeps reminding me about this invention called the internet, apparently there are numerous resources on there or something….. Ahem!

I realise this post might be stating the obvious a wee bit but I am just so pleased I have started to get the point and am quite excited about what happens next.