I showed Oliver the Codecademy website a couple of months ago, and we spent a little time going through a couple of lessons, but the programming bug didn’t bite. This week, though, Catherine complained to me that she’d been hard-pressed to help Oliver work through “some sort of programming thing,” and it turns out that he gone back to it, of his own volition, and needed some help.

This is why, if you ask Oliver how to calculate the length of a string in JavaScript, he will now happily tell you “dot length.” Like:


We’ve moved on to learn about data types (numbers, strings, boolean — named after George Boole, we learned), comparisons, and if-else statements. So now we’re able to do things like:

temperature = prompt("What's the temperature?");
if (temperature > 30) {
    alert("Man, it's hot!");

Codecademy works quite well: the lessons are bite-sized, the explanations hit a nice tone between “hip” and “practical”, and, the evidence from Oliver suggests, it’s a good way to get grounded in programming fundamentals.

We’ll keep working through the lessons for a while and we’ll see where we are in a few weeks and report back; in the meantime, if you or your kin have an interesting in dipping your toe in the gentle waters of coding, Codecademy seems like a good place to start.


Mike Walmsley's picture
Mike Walmsley on September 3, 2012 - 23:16 Permalink

If you are a complete novice, is another great place to start! Have had lots of feedback that the learning is more fun and effective with CodeAvengers than CodeCademy if you are a total beginner.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 4, 2012 - 13:49 Permalink

Mike, thanks for the pointer to Code Avengers; Oliver and I tried it out this morning. You’re right: it is a different “more fun” take on learning JavaScript. I think Codecademy and Code Avengers together are quite complementary, and it would be a useful exercise to work through both of them.

Linda's picture
Linda on September 4, 2012 - 15:22 Permalink

Thanks Peter, great story ! How old is Oliver? Fun to hear to that he ended up going back to Codecademy by himself. The Python lessons are pretty kid friendly too, if you want to try them out!

Linda — Codecademy

Mike Walmsley's picture
Mike Walmsley on September 6, 2012 - 06:39 Permalink

Cool! I agree about complementary. I think CodeCademy is an great site with potential to be even more awesome!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on September 6, 2012 - 13:01 Permalink

We’ve been working through Code Avengers for the last couple of days: my only criticism so far is that its early lessons involve math that Oliver isn’t ready for — order of operations, etc. — and that isn’t particularly needed for a grasp of JavaScript itself.