You could say I’m a newbie when it comes to web development.

My background is in graphic design, but as Atomic’s newest designer, I’ve been doing some web work, too. Learning the programming ropes has been easier than I expected, though, thanks to my secret weapon: Codecademy. One of my fellow Atomic developers showed me the site, and it’s a novice coder’s dream.

Codecademy is an easy (and free!) way to learn jQuery, JavaScript, and the fundamentals of web development. Information is organized into step-by-step lessons, starting with the basics, like entering commands or performing simple math problems. And it’s fun—seriously. Each course wraps up with a project that requires you to put the skills you’ve just learned to work (I’ve built a virtual blackjack game, address book, and cash register on past levels). Codecademy teaches you to problem-solve with code.

In contrast to the Google-one-command-because-you-can’t-remember-how-to-use-it strategy that’s the tendency of many a developer, Codecademy shows you how commands work together. Each coding lesson draws on skills learned previously, making knowledge more likely to stick.

And it’s not just for beginners. Codecademy has tutorials all the way up to high-level programming. Even if you think you know it all, there are always cool shortcuts to learn. (I’ve learned tricks that shorten ten lines of code to just two or three.)

In case coding savvy isn’t enough, the site lets you create an account to track your progress, earn badges for successfully completing projects, and share your achievements with friends. There are also helpful hints and glossaries for each section, and a Q&A forum to share tips with other coders. I’m about halfway through the program, and am amazed by how far I’ve come. Code that used to look like gibberish suddenly makes sense—now I’m writing gibberish of my own.

Who’s callin’ me a newbie?

Want to see our developers’ coding expertise in action? Give Atomic a ring and we’ll show you what we can do.

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