I’ve been thinking for a while I should learn to code. When I was a teenager I taught myself html and css and created a series of little websites for my own entertainment. Unfortunately none of them are online any more so I can’t show you what it is a 14-year old girl in 1999 thought a personal website should include…

I still use loads of that knowledge when I’m administering websites at work but I am generally frustrated that my knowledge takes me to a point and then if I want anything shiny and exciting to happen I have to find someone to make it for me. Enter Codecademy.

One of the most talked-about startups of the moment, the site launched in 2011 and offers tuition in various programming language for people with no prior knowledge. Codecademy’s creators want to be “educating tens of millions of people in the skill that matters most in the 21st century” (source: Wired.co.uk). You sign up to the site and register onto a mini course – thus breaking down the challenge into manageable pieces. Every time you sign in and learn or practise you get some points, and when you complete a section or pass an achievement you get a badge. I am totally sick of the work ‘gamification’ but that’s what is going on here – it turns learning a skill into a game in a way that is really not annoying, for a change.

Aside from the game element, the site is also lovely because it looks so great. The interface is clean and effective, with the instructions always down the left hand side and a practise window and console on the right into which you put your code. You can switch between a ‘Scratch Pad’ and the exercise at any time and input your answer to the problem when you’re ready.

Initially all the courses were written in-house by the Codecademy team but earlier this year they opened up their ‘Creator’ platform which allows anyone to submit a coding lesson or practice exercise. This has led to a very quick increase in the number of courses available. Options now include Python, Ruby and CSS alongside the initial Javascript course.

I’m really enjoying learning some coding and it is my intention to complete the whole lot eventually. Perhaps I’ll share the results with you soon!