Category: Education, Technical
Rating: Strongly Recommended
Price: Free Trial, $29/month
I’m writing this post as a followup to my short series on understanding more about tech terms and html tags when building an affiliate website. Since several readers have asked about my thoughts on the best place to learn basic HTML and CSS, I thought I’d provide a little more detail on one of my favorite resources.
What is Code School?
CodeSchool is an online learning platform specializing in introductory technology courses. Unlike most programming training programs, CodeSchool focuses on practical applications of learning to program. The courses dive right into how to accomplish your objectives with a new language, so you can get started quickly and easily, and then apply your new skills to a personal project or website.
There are tons of courses to choose from, but the main topics covered are:
For a non-technical website owner, I recommend starting with the front-end courses dealing with HTML and CSS to improve your website’s format and styling (the look and feel of your site).
Why CodeSchool is My Favorite Online Programming Resource
CodeSchool is a great resource for both beginner and intermediate programmers and website owners. I know the term programmer might sound intimidating, but the point of the CodeSchool structure is to make introductory programming accessible to anyone, regardless of background or prior experience working online.
Each of the courses focus on real-world implementations of the topic involved, with easy-to-understand explanations and examples to get you started.
The flip-side of this approach is that the program does not spend time on many of the fundamentals of Computer Science, such as things you might learn in a formal CS degree program (algorithmic analysis, data structures, etc). This is a huge plus for anyone just needing to learn a few things to implement as a website owner, and makes the process of learning really efficient, since you focus only on what’s relevant to get the job done.
Every course follows the same format. There are a series of videos that are broken up into short 5-15 minute sections. After each video you’ll be directed to a series of challenges where you can test your understanding of the material. Each lesson also includes a series of slides as lesson notes, which combine powerpoint-style slides with screenshots of example code implementations.
The challenge section is extremely user-friendly. You write code-snippets directly into the browser window, so you don’t have to worry about installing and configuring any files or programs. The exercises are divided into several short snippets, with the ability to check your work or review the lesson material at any point.
The lessons are also designed to be fun and interactive. Each course is setup as if it were a game, with points and badges awarded for completing different sections of the material.
Breadth as well as Depth
If you already have some programming experience, the tracks are also great for identifying exactly where you should start, since you can easily assess your knowledge and compare it against the course material. For example, if you know the basic components of CSS, but are unfamiliar with how to apply them to your site, you might skip the CSS Cross-Country course (which provides a CSS 101-style introduction) and jump straight to the Fundamentals of Design course, which goes into more depth on real-world applicability.
CodeSchool is a great resource for anyone who wants to get their feet wet with programming.
From a website owner’s perspective, even if you’re not the primary person in charge of coding your site, it helps to know a bit about the structure and format of some of the primary coding languages. From an affiliate marketing perspective, knowing some HTML and CSS can save you time and headache, as well as help improve your content.
This is exactly the kind of user CodeSchool is built for. The structure is modular and adaptable, so it’s great for beginner’s and intermediate’s alike.
Best of all, they currently have a great free trial offer, so you can sign up and take a course or two for free, and only continue if you’re 100% satisfied. After the free trial, you can have access to all of their material for only $29/month. This is by far the best introduction to learning basic programming you can find!