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Code Academy Python Review

Code Academy Python Review

By Timothy Coyle

python

A while ago (back in 2014 sometime I think) I took the Python track at Code Academy online to brush up on my Python skills. Code Academy offers a free online learning platoform for programming - it's all in the browser and requires an internet connection. I was doing a lot of scripting/automation work and moving from Perl to Python and wanted a quick and free "review" for python programming. Overall I enjoyed the Python track and completed the roughtly 13 hours of instruction that was offered.

I can't really give a good review for someone new to programming but for someone new to Python I think that Code Academy does a pretty good job of getting you right into writing code and understanding the basics of the language.

code academy python

This is the main work screen. On the left side you get your "lessons" which are really bite size instructions. You start out pretty easy with print commands and move on to classes. You write your code in the browser window and execute it in the browser as well. Your code is "validated" and you can only move on to the next lesson when you correctly complete the exercise.

What I Liked.It was nice and easy to be able to write and run your code in the browser. Having your code automatically validated and providing instant feedback helps keep you motivated. The lessons up to about half way point had a really good flow and I enjoyed making the simple battleship style game.

What I Didn't Like.Compared to some other online learning platforms there was no video. You couldn't see someone write code or show diagrams - this could be a personal preference but something to think about. It's nice to have your code automatically graded but little things like "dog" instead of "Dog" come up as errors so sometimes it felt like I was doing more editing than coding. The second half started to feel a little repetative. Some of the lessons were difficult to understand what (and how) you were supposed to solve with code. So for example you might use an if statement but solution uses a for statement so you are out of luck. Fortunately the lessons include helpful tips and simple Google search will get you lots of solved solution sets if you really get stuck

Code Academy has a pretty neat format for learning a programming language and I liked going through the Python track and it did help me get up to speed on the basics. I think starting out here and then moving on to more advanced learning platform like Treehouse or Code School is a good way to go.


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