ExamTime New Skills: How to Code

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This is a list of online resources that can teach you how to code. The different languages they teach are listed beside them: Codecacademy: HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Ruby, Phython, PHP, APIs Mozilla WebMaker: HTML, CSS and other intro concepts Try Ruby: Ruby W3schools: HTML,CSS, JAVASCRIPT, JQUERY ,XML ASP,.NET, PHP, SQL Learn CSS: HTML and CSS Kids Ruby: Ruby ( don’t be fooled by the title!) Mozilla Developement Network: HTML, CSS, Javascript Learn jQuery: jQuery

WHAT PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE SHOULD I START WITH?Each computer programming language offers something different and each has their own pros and cons. Even depending on where you are in the world some might be more popular so it’s nearly impossible to give any definitive list. So, below is a very general overview of some popular computer languages you may want to get started coding with:

This note is intended to give an overview of our Learning to Code blog series. This series explored why people should start coding and discusses the resources available to them. We also explored many other issues such as the role of women in the coding movement and had an interview with Hadi Partovi from Code.orgYou can find a lot of the info we explored in our series in this note but for more in-depth info check our blog 

Hadi Partovi is co-founder of Code.org, an organisation that aims to increase the numbers of young people who can code. Besides from founding Code.org, Hadi is also a prolific entrepreneur and angel investor.  He was on the founding teams of Tellme andiLike, and was an investor or early advisor to numerous startups including Facebook, Dropbox,  Zappos and airbnb. When it comes to coding, Hadi knows his stuff, so we reached out to him to get his thoughts. ExamTime: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We are so excited to have the opportunity to talk with someone who is doing so much to encourage kids to code, experts to volunteer and celebrities to endorse the idea.ET: To begin, can you tell us a little bit about Code.org and what you are trying to achieve?Hadi Partovi: Code.org was founded with the vision that every student in every school deserves the opportunity to learn computer science. Just like we teach our children that red blood cells carry oxygen, or water is H2O, our goal is for every single child to learn at least the basics of how to program a computer, or to know how computers and the internet work.  ET: So why is learning to code so important?HP: There are multiple ways to answer this question. At the most basic level, computers increasingly surround us in a world that’s overtaken by technology. The phone in your pocket is a computer. The car you drive has 100 computers in it. How you communicate, bank, shop, and even the food you eat and the doctor you visit – all of these are being revolutionized by technology, yet we are still teaching our children 20th century sciences and we should teach them not just how to use technology, but how to participate.At the socio-economic level, software jobs are the best-paying jobs in the world, but we have a shortage of students to fill these jobs, and particularly a shortage among low-income and under-privileged students because their schools don’t even offer classes. So if we fix that, we can provide upward mobility (at a time of record inequality), and also have the opportunity to add 1 million jobs and $500 billion in salaries over the next 10 years. ET: As you know, in this series, we are exploring the importance of learning to code from a young age.  How well prepared do you think recent graduates are for the needs of the today’s society, technology-wise? HP: Recent graduates are far more tech-savy than any time before, they all know how to use smartphones, Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and all sorts of apps and web sites that their parents can’t figure out.But what surprises most people is that fewer of today’s graduates learn to code than 10 years ago. We’re actually teaching it in fewer schools, to fewer students! ET: How difficult is it for people to learn to code? Do you need any specific skills or competencies before you start?HP: It’s like learning to read English. You start at Dr. Seuss, you get to Harry Potter, then Shakespeare, and maybe if you’re really into it you try James Joyce. Even a 7-year-old can learn the Dr. Seuss level of coding, the most basic skills they need are to read, and maybe addition and subtraction. There are even easier apps for 4 years olds to write simple programs before they learn to read.  Of course, to get the top job in software you need to learn a lot more, but that shouldn’t stop people from learning the basics.  ET: Which, in your opinion, are the hottest programming languages right now? Why?HP: “Hot” isn’t really the right thing to ask about, because today’s hottest languages may be irrelevant tomorrow. For example, ObjectiveC is super “hot” because people need to learn that to create iPhone apps. But who knows if the iPhone will be around in 15 years.JavaScript is what I recommend most people learn first, because it’s easy, and if you know JavaScript, it’s applicable in the most places – you can use it to write dynamic/interactive web pages, or mobile apps across all platforms. And it’s the language most likely to stick around for decades because it’s built in to every browser on every single personal computing device, across PCs, tablets and phones. ET: You have many Business & Political Leaders and even Celebrities supportingCode.org. Why do you think they decided to join the movement?HP: Because everybody wants our children to be prepared for the future, and this is a simple message. It’s great for our kids, for our economy, for our future, and it doesn’t involve any controversy or politics. ET: Code.org seems to be more US oriented at the moment. Do you have any plans to extend your outreach to other countries in the world?HP: I’m personally focused on the US first, because we have to start somewhere, we can’t do everything at once. But many of our efforts will surely spread to other countries. Our inspirational videos have been watched more times outside the US than inside. The curriculum tools we create will over time be translated to other languages too. But we likely will keep 90% of our focus on the US until the problem here is less dire. In many other countries (for example, UK, Australia), the national government is considering mandating Computer Science in public education for all kids starting at 8th grade. China has made it a high school graduation requirement. The US government is federal, and education is controlled by the states, so in this country our government leaders simply cannot make a sweeping change like that, it’s impossible – which is another reason to focus here first.   ET: Any final tips for kids that want to learn to code?HP: Just try it. It’s easier than you think, and more fun than you may think. Unlike algebra or science class, you can build something you show your friends or your parents, you build some pride in your abilities, and then you improve on what you build and get better.Visit Code.org and click the button for students and give it a try ET: Thank you for answering our questions Hadi. We wish you the best of luck with Code.org. 

 KEVIN SYSTROM, FOUNDER AND CEO OF INSTAGRAMKevin had a background in Marketing but taught himself to code by night. After teaching himself the basics he set about creating small projects such as combining elements of Foursquare with Mafia Wars. He would then get his friends to play around with what he had created and then work on improving it. Pretty soon he had quit his job and was working on his first app Burbn. In time he had developed Instagram and is now the CEO of one of the largest internet phenomena which sold to Facebook in Spring 2012 for a cool billion dollars.

JAMES WHELTON, FOUNDER OF CODERDOJOCoderDojo is a not for profit company that is sweeping across the world. Its aim is to help teach students how to code. CoderDojo’s founder James Whelton originally founded the organisation after some of his school friends said they wanted to learn coding too after they were impress by Whelton’s ability to hack an iPod Nano. Whelton’s skills at the time were completely self-taught but now he is inspiring an entire generation to code (along with the governments of the world).

JAMIE ZAWINSKI, CONTRIBUTES TO FREE SOFTWARE PROJECTSJamie Zawinski (sometimes called jwz) is considered by many to be one of the greatest programmers out there. He had very little formal training and was mostly self-taught. He is best known for his contributions to open/free software projects like Mozilla and the Netscape web browser.

PUCK MEERBURGPuck Meerburg is a 12 year old coder from Holland. He currently has 7 apps to his name, which is quite impressive by any standards. He taught himself JavaScript, PHP and jQuery when he was seven or eight. Besides being a great coder, he also has a totally awesome name!

SHANE CURRANShane Curran is an Irish 12-year-old coder who created and set up Libramatic. He presented his idea at the Dublin Beta and was voted the best start-up on the evening! If this kid can’t inspire you and instill the belief that you can code too then no-one will!

ETHAN DUGGANEthan is a 12 year old coder also from the USA. He is best known for his Lazy Husband apps. He presented his ideas at SXSW as well! He learned to code by using Codecademy but he also got help from the Las Vegas tech community. 

THOMAS SUAREZ Thomas is a 12 year older coder from the USA. He thought himself to build iPhone apps and has a number of different titles to his name now. Watch his TED talk below (yes, that’s right, this kid has his own TED talk!) to see the type of apps he has created. I’m sure you will find his story to be inspiring.

ADA LOVELACE: FIRST COMPUTER PROGRAMMERAda Lovelace was an English mathematician who is regarded today as being the first computer programmer. She wrote the first machine algorithm which she based off Charles Babbage’s Analytical engine. She described herself as a ‘poetical scientist’ and followed her curiosity down many different paths. She constantly returned to ideas revolving around computer programming though. Her impact on modern computer science can not be underestimated.

THE ENIAC TEAM: PROGRAMMED THE WORLDS FIRST ELECTRONIC COMPUTERIn 1946, a team of 6 women programmed the world’s first electronic computer; ENIAC ( You can read a very interesting critique of the this team here). There names were :  Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman. At the time they were largely overlooked and credit was given to the men who built the machine as opposed to the women who actually programmed it. However, in 1997, they were inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. 

GRACE HOPPER: CREATED THE FIRST LANGUAGE COMPILERIn 1952 Grace Hopper created the first language compiler .  She was an American computer scientist and United States Navy officer. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I calculator, and she developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. Without Grace, or ‘Amazing Grace’ as she was later nicknamed, a computer wouldn’t be able to comprehend the code programmers use everyday. So she has had a major impact on the development of computer sciences.

MARY ALLEN WILKES: CREATED THE FIRST OPERATING SYSTEMMary Allen Wilkes is best known for her work on the LINC system which is regarded as the “ great-granddaddy of all the personal computers” . She is regarded by most to be the first person ever to use a ‘home computer’, as you can see in her picture. Her biggest individual contribution though was that she created the first operating system. Without  Mary Allen Wilkes work on developing operating systems the modern PC as we know it wouldn’t exist!

There are a number of sites that also focus on helping girls to code. Of course, girls can still use the above resources but these sites might also be helpful!  Girls Who Code   The Ada initiative  Girl Develop It Girl Geek  The Raise Project  Black Girls Code  Code Ed.

HTML5: is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the Web. Pros: An extremely popular language and used in some capacity by the majority of sites. Apparently, 34 of the world’s top 100 Web sites were using HTML5 Cons: This is a front-end mark-up language so it doesn’t have any decision-making capabilities i.e. it can only describe the info it comes across and not take any action on it

Ruby: Ruby on Rails is a hugely popular lightweight framework which is great for writing web applications. Pros:  Very popular and “cool” especially in the start-up community. Better than Java for creating a web application quickly Cons: Fast moving language, lots of out-of-date online documentation, not really useful for developing GUI applications—pretty much web-only, realistically speaking Python: Similar to Ruby in the above ways, though seemingly not as popular. Pros: Many would swear it is a superior language to Ruby. Greater GUI development compared to Ruby Cons: Not as popular in the industry when compared with Ruby so it might not be as helpful on your CV This is just a very basic overview of some popular languages. There are many moreestablished or even up and coming languages you could also learn. The best advice for choosing which language you start with is to ask yourself what you want to achieve by learning to code; this will help you make a decision. If you need some help, look to the coding experts for some inspiration!

C++: is a general-purpose programming language. It is comprised of both high and low-level language features and, as such, is regarded as an intermediate-level language. Pros: Very popular and a lot can be achieved with it. If there is something that can’t be done using the language there is often a way of grafting it in Cons: It’s a very large language and this may cause some features to interact in unexpected ways. It would be hard for one developer to have an expert knowledge of the whole language, rather focus on certain key elements Java: is a scripting language and is probably most popular language overall, used predominantly for enterprise and web applications. It’s also popular with open source and Android. Pros: Popular and regarded as being easy to learn ( or a least easier than others) Cons: Limited in terms of language features, somewhat old-fashioned.

JavaScript: is a scripting language that is generally used to facilitate levels of interactivity with web pages that are not achievable with HTML. Pros: A popular language and can augment elements of HTML Cons: Does not create stand-alone applications; JavaScript code is run on a browser only

To test your JavaScript knowledge check out this quiz: https://my.examtime.com/en/p/141758-JavaScript-Quiz-quizzes



Role Models

Which Language?

Interview with Hadi Partovi

JavaScript Quiz