As Internet users, we all skim above the surface of programming code. It’s a language that we interact with on a constant basis, yet, like tourists in a far-flung locale, most of us never learn to speak it. But code is slowly becoming an element of many of our careers. I find myself diving into HTML many times a day (twice to write this blog post, even).
A new Internet startup called Code Academy is trying to prepare the programming-illiterate for their impending techno-savvy future. They’ve developed Code Year, a free web-based education course that teaches the elements of coding—from the fundamentals to the nitty-gritty details—over the duration of one year. The organization claims that, if you stick with their lessons, you should be able to write a basic video game or build a website at the end of 12 months. “Make my own video game?” I thought as I read about Code Year. “That’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was, geez, 10 years old.”
Liz Dwyer, the education editor of Good, did a nice job of explaining the interface of the course. I’ll defer to her example:
“Hey! Let’s get to know each other. What’s your name?” the prompt asks, instructing you to type your name with quotation marks around it, then press enter. Within a minute, you’ve learned enough code to ask the program to tell you how many letters are in your name and do basic math problems. The program even awards badges to keep participants motivated and allows you to tweet your coding achievements.
As technology and software continues to advance, digital literacy will be absolutely crucial if you want a career in, well, any field. It’s time to start speaking a new language.