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Learn to Code with Codagogy: A Review

Screenshot_8_19_13_12_33_PMIn my efforts to brush up on my coding knowledge this summer, I’ve been exploring a number of online courses, including CodeAcademy, Udacity and the Programming Historian. My latest foray into code has been with a new company called Codagogy, an offshoot of Web Start Women. Web Start Women is an organization that aims to encourage more women to become web developers and programmers. Codagogy is the company’s attempt to bring their classes to a virtual audience.

Codagogy differs from other web-based options in several respects. First of all, the courses are set to run over a period of two weeks (with new exercises released every three days). When you sign up, you get assigned to a study group, which also allows you access to real instructors who can help you to troubleshoot your code—something sorely missing from the other web-based alternatives. This personalized attention also means that Codagogy is not free. However, it’s pretty inexpensive—each course only costs $50. If you use this coupon here you can get $17 off your first course.

I just completed a course on JavaScript and jQuery last week. Codagogy currently has other courses available including more basic courses on HTML and CSS, and will be releasing new courses on PHP and databases soon. The day my Javascript course began, I was given four problem sets which would both teach me a concept, as well as give me some ways to practice what I had learned. The process repeated itself every few days until the end, which had me building an online greeting card project.

What I Really Liked:

1) The teachers at Codagogy are really, really good. I liked how the instructors contextualized how JavaScript works in relation to other coding languages, which helped me to put the pieces of the puzzle of ‘What Makes the Internet Function’ very easily. A lot of the examples were funny and well explained—for example, they compared using a code library (in this case, jQuery), to using a pancake mix versus making pancakes from scratch. In other words: you get the same result with pancake mix, just with less work–just as you would get the same results from your code but more quickly if you use a code library. Additionally, the diagrams that they used to explain concepts were delightful, such as the web development puzzle one below:

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2) I really appreciated having access to someone who would help me troubleshoot my code (this included both my study group mates, as well as my instructor, who would generally respond in a matter of hours to a distress call on the study group board). I learned a lot from what I had missed that my instructor had caught; additionally, she was excellent at providing useful tips (such as how I could check on which line of my code was malfunctioning myself through using the console.log command and “Inspect Element” on my web browser). This personalized attention is, to me, really worth paying for.

What I Would Like to See:

1) The majority of the exercises did not have a web-based compiler from which you could test your code. I’d have liked to be able to have played with the code directly from the browser itself—it would just have made the process easier.

2) Additionally, I would have also appreciated more “hints” along the way—at many points, the exercises just revealed the answers without having students go through too much. I learn best by trying and by making mistakes along the way, and learning from them. In this regard having some hints built into the exercises would have helped me to learn more quickly. I wonder if it would be possible to integrate, for example, a series of curated Codeacademy exercises into a Codagogy class, as that would quickly solve these issues.

Overall:

Codagogy is one of the best experiences I’ve had with learning code online—because the courses are short, the exercises manageable, and having a community and instructor to learn from is really invaluable. I’m going to be looking forward to when their new courses are released—this course will not be my last.

Have you ever taken a Codagogy course? Please share your experience in the comments section.

**Disclaimer: Codagogy let me take my first course for free to write this review, but I was not compensated in any other way for the review.

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