Corey Kirk TLR #2

This may sound like a rant and it probably is, but whatever. The last few days since my previous TLR post hasn’t exactly gone as planned. I signed up for codecademy, the website that teaches you how to code different languages, in the hopes that it could help me with learning python. I was very excited about it because I know several people who have used it for learning how to code HTML and CSS. In fact, I even looked at the tutorials for HTML and CSS and they are pretty great. They explain things, have this active and engaging environment, and you are free to experiment a little and make a site the way you want to make.  It is pretty cool and I think is useful to anyone who wants to learn how to code websites.

However, this is just not the case with the python tutorials. I booted up the first lesson, fully expecting that I would be taught what a few lines of code does before I practiced it first-hand. I thought that when I saw my_int for instance, I would know what that line of code meant so I understood how it works in the code I was about to write. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The initial screen that you see is just a few lines of code that you have no idea what it means. Instead of explaining what the code does, it just says something along the lines of “Hey! Look at this code. We have some errors in it. Fix it by changing the 3 to a 7.”  I don’t want to know that that particular piece of code needs a 7 in it. I want to know what changing the 3 to a 7 actually does! What is my_int? What does it do? How does it do it?  I want to know what my_bool does as well, but do I get to know that? No! The only thing that I learned from the tutorials I could get on codecademy is the error message that comes from having too much whitespace. Then again, it is ok and in fact encouraged to use whitespace, but just how much whitespace are you supposed to use? What does it all mean?

As you can probably tell, I’m just a tad bit miffed at the codecademy website. I expected the tutorials to be as good as the HTML and CSS ones, but unfortunately they just aren’t and that is a shame. The thing is that since I already know how to code HTML, I sort of figured out the stuff that the tutorials didn’t teach me. So, in a way, I am still learning the code. However, I think I am going to resort to the old fashioned way of learning code and just dive right in and create something with the guidance of a book and a few searches on Google. I don’t recommend the codecademy tutorials for strict beginners. Find a different way to learn python.

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