Learn coding and programming for free while having fun with Code Year

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Code Year is a free web site that will teach you the basics and even some advanced techniques for writing program code, or “coding” as it is called. Code Year offers you basic lessons, skill increasing exercises, and a load of fun while learning, all at no cost.

The only thing you need is a computer and an email address to get started on your path to becoming a code guru.

A little while ago, I wrote an article about a great website called Codeacademy. That website offers free lessons in coding on a short-term basis in the form of online lessons. This year, the makers of Codeacademy bring a new site for code education to the general public, called Code Year.

Code Year is connected to Codeacademy and is created and maintained by the same development company. However, Code Year differs from the basic Codeacademy page mainly in its scope. While Codeacademy offers basic lessons on a your schedule, as you choose when to visit Codeacademy and when to initiate lessons, Code Year offers lessons that go more in-depth on  particular programming subjects over longer periods of time. If Codeacademy is elementary school for programmers and coders, then Code Year is high school.

Code-Year-Screen-1

When you sign up for Code Year by giving them your email address, you’ll immediately get an email from them. This email will let you know that from now on you’ll get a lesson sent to you every Monday by Code Year, and it also contains the link for your very first lesson. When you click that link, you’ll be taken to a web page that shows you the available courses for that week. There’s a basic overview of the lesson plans on the website, and it shows that over the course of your first month you’ll get lessons and training in JavaScript, which is one of the most basic and useful codes to know.

Code Year Screen 2

Your first lesson in JavaScript will take you through the basics of coding, doing things like defining variables and giving basic commands to the computer. You’ll begin with telling the computer your name in quotes, which is actually your very first entry of code! Congratulations! From the humble beginnings of entering your name to the much more complicated and complex functions of writing and testing your very first original program, Code Year will be your guide and teacher the whole way.

Code Year Screen 3

Those who are already familiar with Codeacademy (the basis for the Code Year system) will recognize the basic system and style presented in Code Year, as each lesson in Code Year will use the same kind of format. You’ll be given a coding window in which to type your commands and to the left of that is the current instructions from your virtual professor. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson and the whole thing is done in such a conversational, fun way that you barely even notice you’re actually learning something. Code Year is very like the concept of a Big Year in birding, where the goal is to see as many bird species as possible in one year. With Code Year, the idea is to learn as much coding as possible in one year. Who knows where you might take it from there? It’s really up to you, with your imagination and desire being the only real limits.

Code Year is, in my opinion, the culmination of what we were hoping to see from Codeacademy. This is the Rosetta Stone of programming language. Each week you’ll receive an email with a link to your next lesson, and each lesson will also be accompanied by a fun exercise to practice the basics you have learned. For example, after your first basic lesson you will be able to try the Fizz and Buzz exercise, which is set up much the same way as a normal lesson, but with a particular goal in mind to achieve. This gives you an extra bit of motivation to complete the exercise, as it is learning disguised as fun.

Code Year Screen 4Code Year Screen 5

The interactive nature of the Code Year lessons, along with the innovation of offering them week by week in email seems like it would be a program that costs lots of money. Fortunately, Code Year is totally free and while it may not get you to the point of being able to create the next big Half Life game, it will get you on the road to that eventual goal if that’s your desire. I would recommend Code Year to anyone who is looking to learn about coding from the ground up. Whether you plan to attend graphic design school and create games for a living, or if you just want to create your own freeware programs using basic coding tools, code Year is a great way to get started. I am personally very eager to see what Code Year offers when it has been around a bit longer. The lessons already available are of excellent quality, and if they continue to add to their courses with the same level of quality and innovation, Code Year will be on the lips of everyone who has an interest in programming.

Until next time, my friends.

Start your Code Year here.