Things have changed since I last posted about Codecademy. I’ve stopped using it. Not for any bad reason; I’ve just outgrown it.
Okay, maybe they’re not that exciting. Simple challenges to validate forms and draw charts aren’t gonna set the world on fire. But they were Projects. No guidance, no step-by-step, just one instruction: Make this.
I wrote my scripts, loaded up Chrome, and immediately hit a wall.
Okay, bug-fixing time. I googled a bit. Reviewed old Codecademy lessons. Scrutinised the code line by line, character by character, and checked the official documentation. Everything seemed correct. Everything I’d written corresponded to old Codecademy lessons. But it didn’t work.
All my hard work, all my careful confidence-building… torn apart on my first exposure to The Whole Thing.
First, Understand Why
I’ve said before that Codecademy’s weakness is a lack of theory, and that’s exactly where this problem came from. I knew programming concepts, understood loops and functions and the basics of recursion and OOP, but I’d little idea how to put a coherent whole together from scratch.
The issue was embarrassingly simple: putting script tags in the appropriate part of the DOM. I was trying to manipulate the DOM before it had even loaded. Schoolboy stuff, but it had never been explained to me.
Right now, I’m going back to square one and getting my foundations in place. I’m taking MIT’s Introduction to Computer Science 6.00x course on EdX. It’s tough, but I’d like to avoid schoolboy mistakes in future. I also plan to do all my coding in real environments, where I know exactly what’s running and what needs to be in place.
So. Slán anois Codecademy, but cheers all the same. You were sometimes frustrating, sometimes fun, but you got me coding.