By JOHN SELAWSKY
“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” When Steve Jobs said it years ago, he proved to be a true visionary once again.
Well, it’s hard to argue with that! Programming is thriving these days more than ever, and the trend is only expected to grow. According to code.org in the US, there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer sciences over the next 10 years. Programming skills will soon become a standard requirement for a higher level professional in any industry, just as the PC user skills are nowadays.
So even if you are not an IT student, but rather a future scientist, sales manager or marketing strategist, getting comfortable with coding is just a great idea.
First, choose a language. Java is a good choice because it is the most popular and widely applicable one. If you are in doubt, please take a look at TIOBE or PYPL programming language ratings…or just ask one of your developer friends. Besides, Java is easy to learn.
The next question is what is the proper way to learn Java. All sorts of programming courses and universities, academies, tutorials and books are readily available both online and offline. How to pick those that work best for you? Programming is all about practice. Team up with a tutor willing to set practical tasks for you and provide feedback, and you are well on your way. Interactive online courses are a good alternative, and here is a list of our select few:
- CodeGym is a Java Core course 80% based on practice. CodeGym is divided into 40 levels. Each level includes about 15-30 practical tasks, 10-20 Java lectures and some motivation articles to cheer students up.
This site is really useful for beginners and intermediate Java Students. You go through the course and collect the “dark matter”, by solving the exercises. You level up your character while boosting your Java skills.
CodeGym comes with an advanced code verification system. Think of it as a tutor who is there for you to check your exercises and offer recommendations if anything goes wrong. The validator is lightning fast: it only takes seconds to get your code checked.
The lectures are fun, sprinkled with humor and with amusing characters guiding you through the course. It is built around an interactive story of the GalaxyRush spaceship where a young robot Amigo (you) is learning how to code with the help from his teachers.
- CodeCademy is an online interactive platform that offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages including Java. Their basic Java course fits absolute beginners and has many practical exercises with a high quality code validation.
On CodeCademy you’ve got short theory explanation and instructions on the left side of the page and a coding task on the right. Write the code, push “Run” and in a moment you will get the answer and comments about your solution.
CodeCademy has only one Java course for now. It is a good one if you want to try Java.
- Coursera. The world’s largest educational online platform with hundreds of Java courses available. Worth checking: Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software and other courses by the Duke University for beginners and University of California courses for intermediate students. These will have you covered on the major intermediate topics in software development.
- Udacity also provides a basics Java Programming course to learn Syntax and Functions. It’s free and aimed at absolute beginners in programming. Like CodeCademy, it covers the main Java concepts such as methods, conditions, and loops, plus an intro to the workings of IDE IntelliJ IDEA.
- CodinGame. Working through the CodinGame problems is an enjoyable way to improve your programming skills. This site targets people who already know the basics of programming language (Java and 22 others) and also has hardcore challenges for expert developers.
CodinGame has the browser-based IDE that lets you code and compile in the same window and you can see the game changing in real time in your screen’s left corner. It is not a traditional practical online course. Even more: it is not an online course at all but challenge exercises tied to real games. After solving them you get visual feedback, a small change in this game.
Bio – John Selawsky, a senior Java developer and Java tutor at Learning Tree International programming courses. His idols are Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. John believes that the future lies in the development of technologies that are changing the world.