Codecademy Update

It's been a while since we've talked about Codecademy here at AVC. I think the last time I blogged about this USV portfolio company was at the start of the year when they did their Code Year thing which resulted in over a quarter million people signing up to learn to code this year.

In the seven months that have transpired since then, Codecademy has been busy adding HTML, CSS and jQuery to their list of languages they supported. You may recall that they launched with Javascript. All of those are "front end" languages and by this summer, Codecademy had a critical mass of languages for anyone wanting to learn front end coding.

But server side coding was a big hole and Python was the most requested language of all. So yesterday, Codecademy announced that they had added Python to their set of supported languages. In addition, they have made some changes to their archticture so that they can easily add more server side languages in the coming months.

All of the content on Codecademy is created by their users. If you would like to create a coding lesson on Codecademy, you can do that here.

I've been involved in a bunch of projects in the past year to help more folks get technical and learn to code. I think this is a big deal for a bunch of reasons. And I am particularly optimistic about the use of the free and open Internet as a classroom for this sort of thing. And Codecademy is at the front of that charge.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    Cool. They still need a better front end designer themselves. The site itself is not very intuitive (or pretty) and the lessons at times hard to follow – meaning just what to do next and where to go.

    1. William Mougayar

      Symptom of the cobblers children being the most poorly shod? I’m sure that’s an easy fix. Do they offer UI/UX lessons yet?

      1. awaldstein

        You raised it William.Sure you can and should learn about the pieces of your business that matter but do you think UX is a language that can be learned beyond understanding best practices?

        1. kirklove

          I don’t think design can be taught. Technique yes, but that intrinsic quality of knowing good from bad is near impossible.Don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for Codecademy, I just find they’ve had plenty of time to “beautify” the site and should have by now.

          1. Rob Hunter

            I think it can. That intrinsic quality comes with experience (my personal bias is that I’d like to be better at design, and someday not need a graphic designer to make first pass products that look reasonable).Think about the music you liked when you were 11, or the girls that you liked at 15, or the companies you thought were great at 20. Has your ability to differentiate between good and bad changed?

          2. awaldstein

            There is a difference between appreciation and decisions making by intent.We may know what we like or what pleases but that is not what UX is about to me. It’s about intent to capture or platform behaviors for a goal.It’s language. Listening to it and speaking it are a huge leap to most of us.

          3. Rob Hunter

            I really like the idea of UX as language, I’ll have to keep that.I think that appreciation is an important step towards decisions by intent – my point was that in showing that we develop appreciation over time, hopefully the same can be said for the other. Languages, though hard, can be learned. That being said, if I do (or find someone who has), I’ll let you know.

          4. awaldstein

            Agree…as an English/Philosophy major who has worked in Tech and Consumer Electronics, understanding and appreciating is something I’m a big believer in.But appreciating and being an astute practitioner are different. We are better at managing what we have a sense of though for certain.

          5. kirklove

            Experience is key, yes, though different people have different ceilings is what I’m saying. And in my experience (I’ve hired over 50 designers) you can separate the good from the bad quickly as well as those that can be trained/grown and those that can’t.

          6. awaldstein

            Agree…The reason I’m jumping on this is not to criticize the design of the site nor to call for UX to be taught but to always nudge developers and UX and design people to collaborate.The end result of a great online experience is so much the intersection of these disciplines.

          7. ShanaC

            I disagree – with enough exposure, you develop a good eye. Most people don’t know good from bad though

          8. kidmercury

            siding with shana in this beef. almost anything can be taught. some may learn faster and ultimately outperform, but basic competency is widely achievable. what makes good design is somewhat scientific.

          9. kirklove

            Hasn’t been the case for me Kid. I’ve probably hired over 50 designers in my lifetime. You can tell who is going to be good and who’s not. There is a certain level that is just intrinsic. I’m not saying skills can’t be taught, patterns learned, but the good ones have it in them. They have the “eye”. I wish I could sing. I could take voice lessons all day long, I’d still suck.

          10. kidmercury

            hiring i think is a bit different. to give an extreme example, anyone who has been hired to play in the NBA probably has a gift. i don’t have that gift so there is zero, perhaps negative, chance of me being in the NBA no matter how much i practiced. but i can get some basic competency. i can improve as a free throw shooter, ball handler, improve footwork, defense, etc. maybe, with enough practice, i could be the star of the local after work league!

          11. kirklove

            Agree with this 100%. Anything can be taught, to some level, yes.

          12. awaldstein

            The science of design?I’m interested in this kid. I think there are principals and then their are principals to be broken,Don’t know that this is science though.

          13. kidmercury

            sure you can break the rules from time to time, just like music. but just like how almost every pop song follows a certain framework the same is true for most popular designs. apple is a prime example, heralded as the king of designs, follows all the basic principles.

          14. awaldstein

            True…The greats principal that Apple applies is to understand the value of the product to the customer. They get their brand at its core and that’s what they sell.That’s rule number one to me.

          15. kirklove

            Fair enough. We’ll agree to disagree on this one. 😉

          16. leigh

            just to split the difference — you can teach anyone to be a decent cook but only a few have the palette to truly be a chef 🙂

          17. awaldstein

            Yeah….but this get’s different around items of marketing and taste, be it a website, app or even ad campaign.At the end it’s just gut and trust, not education or familiarity.We all hire or contract out things we are not great at, like let’s say design work.You can follow your gut, trust the instinct of your team but at the end, it’s a giant leap.The more you do it, the more you learn, the more comfortable you are with the process….it’s still a plunge.

          18. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            I agree with @ShanaC:disqus about the design point

          19. LE

            “I don’t think design can be taught. Technique yes, but that intrinsic quality of knowing good from bad is near impossible.”Agree with that totally based on my experience dealing with graphic artists over the years as well as people.People who have a knack for something generally develop it early on. Then it builds over time as their brain absorbs things that they relate to other things they have learned. There brain is wired differently and it gets better with age as well.I have two step children a boy and a girl, 7 and 10. The boy just wants to watch sports all the time. For the life of me I can’t get him to help me with anything or learn anything if it doesn’t involved sports and tossing a ball or playing a game. He carries a ball around everywhere and is always playing and is actually quite good at all sports. Tops on all teams that he plays on. The girl on the other hand (younger) is curious and will come with me to the basement and be interested in the HVAC system and what I show her and anything mechanical or even business related. She is always asking “why”.Their brains are wired differently. She will pick up certain things very easily going through life that are related to the things which she is exhibiting a natural tendency for right now. The boy could try to be mechanical later but I feel it will be a loosing battle.I was always interested in mechanical things, taking things apart etc. and took to “playing with computers” at an early age. I also took to photography as well which helped later on in business. They were things that came naturally to me (sports wasn’t so I have no interest in that).The best thing codecademy can do is try and train people who are intuitively able to code but were never exposed to it. They aren’t going to take someone whose brain isn’t wired correctly and make them able to code up to a high level of proficiency.

        2. William Mougayar

          I said that half-facetiously 🙂 I think some design principles and best practices can be taught.

        3. Matt A. Myers

          I believe it can be though I’ve not seen any lessons/tutorials that teach or even mention the universal rules that exist with proper design; I don’t say good design because rules changes depending on purpose, function, audience, medium, etc..That would be a big lesson plan to put together, maybe I’ll start jotting down my thinking around it..

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Oh, that would be great. I’d love to see UI/UX lessons!

    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      this is something we’ve worked on over time – we’ve focused on user experience and have found that many of our users enjoy the simple design of the site. that said, expect more updates on the design front soon.

      1. William Mougayar

        There is a lot to be said for simple designs that drive the desired user action.

      2. kirklove

        Good to hear Zach. As I said, I’m totally rooting for you. Still posit that tweaking the UI/UX would go a long way.

      3. ijuarez

        i like the design, suposse it can be better but worked for me by now to get 600 points!, i hope i can finish the code year track, regards from lima peru,

    3. whitneymcn

      Agreed — I’d like to see a better “flow” as well, and while they’ve got a tough UX nut to crack, I think they do have some relatively easy improvements available:- I see the same homepage whether I’m logged in or logged out. It’s up to me (as a lazy user who just hits the homepage) to dig in and figure out what I was working on.- Similarly, while i get badges for doing stuff, the list of “Tracks” doesn’t show me what I’ve got in progress, and my user page seems to only show me the most recent one I’ve worked on (assuming that people will take on one track at a time, I guess).When I’m in an actual lesson or track the flow is pretty well defined, but I think that same kind of “now, do this” needs to happen across the site itself.A fair part of the audience may be a little intimidated by the task of “learning to code”, and every opportunity for a user to say “well, I’m not sure what I need to do now” is likely to be a steep dropoff.

    4. Dale Allyn

      Lots of good comments in this UI/UX thread. I’ll just add (sorry if it was stated and I missed it) that good design is not just about attractive pages, but “page logic” is critical.The user experience must be designed with genuine empathy for each person navigating pages; elements responding as expected; not leaving the user wondering where elements are or “what happens if I click this?”; does the user know where she is in reference to where she’s been and where she wants to end up?. Navigation and interaction must be intuitive to the visitor, not just to the team who built it and tested it for weeks.

  2. JimHirshfield

    Confession: I haven’t kept my new year’s resolution to (re)learn to code. You?Just too busy; more so now than ever.That said, I agree that it’s an awesome service.

    1. falicon

      Without any actual knowledge, I suspect that this is the case for the majority of users…still, it’s a great system for exposing people to real code…even if it’s only 1% that actually catch the ‘builders fever’ it can change the world.As a whole I agree with you that it’s an awesome service and think of the system as a breaking down the barrier to entry for coding skills…a no threat way to see if you like it…which means so many more people are going to give it at least a peek (and even the ones that don’t stick with it, prob. gain a little more appreciation for the work involved for those that do…also a good benefit for the industry)

      1. JimHirshfield

        Agreed. Exposure to coding, even minimal exposure, is enlightening.

      2. ShanaC

        I wish it wasn’t called builder’s fever. I think we need to introduce people to more potential projects. Not everyone is going to want to build a website. Maybe they want to do something else

        1. falicon

          I just made that name up…it doesn’t have to stick…but I meant it to include more than just websites (I meant builder in the broad sense of making or building something where there was nothing before) 🙂

          1. ShanaC

            🙂 Look, this is a lot like teaching people how to draw. You need to trick them into their natural abilities.

    2. Robert Thuston

      yes, my new year’s resolution fell to the wayside too

    3. ShanaC

      yes, but I did it through udacity. I think two weeks ago I wrote my first class ever (and it worked the way I wanted it to) in the Java subset processing. I’m going to GDI women’s coffe klatch + code tomorrow night.I’m actually looking for an online course in intro to data structures and algorithms and finding how to look through the code manual things for what I need online. (something not scary and full of grrr, this is hard and you should flunk to learn it)

    4. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      there’s always time to hop back on 🙂

      1. JimHirshfield


    5. matthughes

      Ugh.Me too. It’s there, and I want to do it. But just not badly enough I guess. I find myself committing time to other projects and activities.I was thinking it would be good to have a friend along for the ride. Someone to help keep me on task and vice versa…Perhaps that’s a feature Codecademy could build into their service?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Oh, interesting. Like Pair Programming, but for learning how to program. I like that.

        1. matthughes

          Exactly.If not at the same physical desk, at least online, in @zachsims:disqus

          1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

            keep an eye out the next few weeks 😉

          2. matthughes


        2. Matt A. Myers

          aka Teacher-Student relationship.. Teachers always learn from their students though too – so win-win, and actually win-win-win because if working for a company then the company benefits too from product being made + with employees bettering themselves.

      2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I think that is a great idea – having a friend working on it would definitely serve as an incentive.

      3. fredwilson

        they are thinking similarly

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Makes me think of Duolingo -something I plan to use religiously once I get a few other things off my plate.

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            Duolingo is amazing. I used it for two weeks then my schedule interfered. I definitely plan on getting back on it once things settle down a bit

        2. Matt A. Myers

          P.S. What’s best way to schedule a chat? I’ll be in NYC 2-3 weeks from now.

        3. LE

          “I was thinking it would be good to have a friend along for the ride. Someone to help keep me on task and vice versa…”That cuts both ways. I’m reminded of people that need an exercise buddy. Better to develop something that doesn’t require a crutch like that. This shouldn’t be like “we make time for date night” it shouldn’t be that hard.With the exception of gaming what other things on the web require the cooperation of another individual that have been super successful?(Things that are stateless (FB, Twitter) don’t count and besides they are self addicting and reinforcing and stateless. Texts q up.)

        4. Paul Sanwald

          for what it’s worth, I am having a friend of mine learn to code through code academy, and I am keeping tabs on him and helping him as he needs. having a way to do this incorporated into the software would be awesome.

    6. LE

      No surprise. In my opinion, the approach they are using isn’t correct, isn’t as much fun as it could be, and doesn’t draw you in and make you want to learn. For the people they are targeting that is (Of course if we knew the metrics on what actually users are, as well as who is dropping out, this could be proven correct or not).My feeling is that the site needs to be arranged around, as one example, projects [1] (the way some physical books are). Give an absolute nominal set of basics (meaning who cares about exponentiation and modulo arithmetic) and allow people to pick a fun thing they want to build. Like a choice of a to-do list, or a simple database etc. Let them build that from the ground up adding on the things that they need to know as they learn. Give them a choice of different projects and have the lessons built around those projects with, to reiterate, enough to just do what they need to do. To start they don’t need to know whether the language is interpreted or compiled. Who cares? TMI for a beginner. Maybe later on mention it when they already have a taste. When you learn to ski you start on the bunny slope. You put your skis on and you go down the hill then you take the tow lift (or whatever that’s called) go back to the top and go down. You have fun and you build from there. You don’t learn about waxing skis to improve your speed.[1] Only one example I could come up with 5 ways to do this I’m just picking one alternative approach. And in any case I would do some research with “normals” to determine the correct method.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Comments with footnotes. Something interesting there.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          References are a very important thing. Mostly unstructured currently, though will be nice once they exist. Different websites do this and add an automatic profile to companies mentioned in say a blog post – as another example of footnote possibilities..

        2. LE

          [I agree]

        3. LE

          Jim, what is “pub dev”, what do you do at Disqus?Not seeing it here: explained on your linkedin page either.

          1. Techman

            He is a new guy. He wrote about when he joined Disqus weeks ago at this blog. Here is the post (I know the post title is kinda odd) http://hirshfield.blogspot….

          2. JimHirshfield

            Yeah, I borked the URL somehow. Oh well. Thanks

          3. JimHirshfield

            Sorry ’bout that. I need to update a few things. Job is to bring on and maintain paid publisher clients for Disqus. Team in NYC.

          4. LE

            Didn’t even know disqus had a paid product. I guess that’s right now has no info as far as a pricing structure. There is nothing to indicate that there is even a paid product. The contact form has the pricing that’s it. I assume you are in the process of revising and making that info appear though.The new site design is nice. But it’s missing a few things to make it apparent what you are offering (you in particular) and to gather leads.Noting that your pricing is $999 per month I would develop a few tiers for this actually in addition to the standard matrix of features. I guess that’s obvious and they just haven’t gotten to it yet.”Don’t make me think”.

          5. JimHirshfield

            Disqus has had a paid product for years. Tiered pricing/packages and such. Agree that the site copy and presentation needs updating. First part of latest update on that is due out this week, coincidentally. The “VIP” tab is where you’ll find a description of the premium service. Greatly appreciate your feedback and I will direct the Product Team’s attention to your comment. Thanks @domainregistry:disqus

          6. LE

            “Greatly appreciate your feedback and I will direct the Product Team’s attention to your comment.”That’s a product for you right there.Sell a version of disqus that companies can install on their website where users can make comments and engage in conversations. Not necessarily about the products but about the website or the company. Conversations where people can offer suggestions and others can add their own thoughts if they agree or disagree. Most commenting now is product review.Much more valuable than “surveys”. I think there would be much use and a nice demand for that.My idea reminds me a little of “Third Voice” but overcomes the drawbacks.

          7. LE

            Nope.Not by the examples that I see.If I go to I don’t see anyway to say anything. Other than a feeback link at the bottom of the page.When I go to or any blog I immediately know how to say something. And I can see people saying things. Which draws you in.If you click the “feedback” link on hootsuite, for example, which is burried at the bottom, you get this page:http://feedback.hootsuite.c…The votes are a negative to me.This isn’t implemented at all in the way I think it needs to be done and I think that’s solving a different problem.Lastly their solutions page isn’t targeting tradition companies. It’s not something that Sony is going to use. It’s basically voting on ideas. The value is in the conversation.

          8. LE

            fyi hootsuite uses uservoice.

      2. codeavengers

        Hey great ideas. I am building CodeCademy like courses that are focused more on beginners (those who have never touched programming). I try not to give any more info in the explanations that is absolutely necessary to get the tasks done. My site is called http://codeavengers.comMy intro to html course is a project. Learners create their own superhero profile page, learning little bits and pieces as they go. Would love you to try it out and offer any suggestions you may have.

    7. obscurelyfamous

      Maybe if there was a surprise pop quiz in your office. Not sure who would administer…

      1. JimHirshfield

        Don’t you think I have enough to “study” as it is???!

  3. Colter Bergh

    This is great news; I know what I am going to spend the rest of my morning doing now.

  4. Iain Darroch

    I’ve started used Code Academy to reinforce what I’ve learnt in class at General Assembly. I’ve found combining online and offline learning very beneficial. I find the creative and exploratory elements of a class are difficult to replicate online but also learning from people passionate about their field. Its been great to start learning and building basic web apps but also seeing the satisfaction others are getting from it. Long may this general trend continue and well done to Code Academy so far!

  5. RichardF

    I think there’s a natural overlap here with Stack and a good opportunity for them to share reputation systems.

    1. JimHirshfield

      portfolio synergy? Is that where you’re going? 😉

      1. RichardF

        lol, no. Reputation systems are just on my mind at the moment and I think there is some synergy there between the two

        1. JimHirshfield

          I know. Agreed.

  6. William Mougayar

    That’s great news about their traction and progreas. As more people learn how to code, a lot of enabling possibilities unravel.I’m curious to learn about their international adoption especially in less developed nations. Are there stories of users that have learned via Codecademy and went on to start companies or are most users there to scratch an itch? Just wondering how many users are really using it as a Hackacademy.

    1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      It would be interesting to know the international adoption rate. In many developing countries – English is taught much later on and therefore students at an early age will miss out on code academy. I know of one initiative in Egypt (Kalimat) that is making programming accessible to Arab children – Here is an article about them

    2. JimHirshfield

      me too…curious…universal or not?

    3. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      there are. in fact, more than 50% of our users are outside of the US and we’ve made a concerted effort to stay accessible to them (one advantage to not including video is that we’re easier on a low-bandwidth connection). we’ve also worked with a few nonprofits that focus on getting people to program in developing countries.

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks. It would be great to hear some of these real stories from these places and expose the impact it is having on their lives. It would be inspirational for others.

      2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        agree with @wmoug:disqus request

  7. Trish Fontanilla

    :: slowly raises hand :: Yeahhh… @JimHirshfield:disqus, all the lessons are sitting in a folder in my work email, “LEARN TO CODE!”.I do like that they added Python though. I’m in Boston and the local Python group offers a (free) weekend workshop for women that’s project-based. While it was awesome (I got to futz around with Twitter), that code is seeping out of my head. Like learning any language, you’ve gotta practice it. Would love to investigate the community aspect of it. Are little pockets of coders-to-be getting together and doing something with what they learned?

    1. RichardF

      great idea Trish

    2. JimHirshfield

      Education trumped by inbox. Oiy.

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      Yes, getting some lessons doesn’t turn anyone into anything. In this case, anyone learning has to put the hours afterwards to become a programmer. Using things afterwards is the real challenge in my opinion.

    4. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      they are getting together to share what they’ve learned. you can check out the meetups (more than 250!) organized by our users here:

      1. Trish Fontanilla

        Awesome! Thanks for that, Zach. Although the fact that the attendees are called “programmers” is a little intimidating. For n00bs like me, but I’m also thinking of some of the girls I mentor. I want them to get out and about in the community more.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Codecademy, dudes, not codeacademy. Just sayin’

        1. falicon

          Doh…spelling…my kryptonite…

    1. fredwilson

      no, but we are investors in codecademy as i stated right up front at the start of the post

      1. falicon


  8. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    for a non-coder such as myself – I tried code academy a few months ago and thought it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I didn’t continue with with because of schedule overload with other topics. I am going to check them out again

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      let us know what you think!

  9. Roger Ellman

    I have tried out Codeacademy and find it exciting to get back into the sway…even tiny steps. Some bugs but they don’t frighten me away. I recommended it to an audience of women entrepreneurs as a way of erasing technophobia…I think it’ll be good and gentle medicine with a twist…it is fun. A touch of code keeps the doctor away!

    1. JimHirshfield

      Spot on.Just a note: it’s Codecademy, not Codeacademy (which is another entity). Very confusing and not a “radio friendly” name.

      1. Roger Ellman

        Jim – Thanks for the correction! Sad, the other one is indeed martial arts related site…but sometimes seems to resolve to codecademy itself….strangely.

        1. JimHirshfield

          And a google search seems to recommend codecademy even tho I search on codeacademy.

          1. blake41

            they bought the domain though which redirects to

          2. JimHirshfield


          3. LE

            The name redirects but is owned as follows:Domain name: Codeacademy.comRegistrant Contact:Andrew Cornes ()12 Carling CloseCoalville, LE67 4EP GBAndrew owns a bunch of domains. I don’t believe he has any affiliation with codecademy although the name is redirecting there as others have mentioned.This is a problem.If codecademy bought the domain they need the domain in their name.If they are paying for redirection I would question why they haven’t bought the domain which they need to do. Redirection is not ownership.I can’t stress this enough. The name is owned by Andrew not by Codecademy. It’s the easiest and most obvious way people refer to this site.

          4. Roger Ellman

            Agree with you on this. It’s Important.

          5. kidmercury

            i would like to commend LE for this comment, and i would like to diss the entire AVC community for not upvoting it. this is an important comment!!!

          6. Techman

            Ok, voted it up. I was going to do it anyways, but thanks for a kind reminder.

          7. LE

            According to a UDRP on this……they did buy the domain back in Oct 2011 but never transferred ownership into their name. Everything about this case is screwy. I don’t even know where to begin on this one.

          8. blake41

            Interesting. I guess I just assumed they purchased it given that’s it’s redirecting now. Clearly I’m wrong. –blake johnsonSent with Sparrow (http://www.sparrowmailapp.c

        2. LE

          “the other one is indeed martial arts related site”What domain are you referring to?

          1. Roger Ellman

            Seemed to “fleetingly” go to a Martial arts page on way to re-direct (seems impossible I know…but that was the temporary image)

          2. LE

   is using is using linode dns servers. ns5.linode.comFunky things happen when using cloudflare. We tested it and had some issues and stopped using it. I had noted even before testing that something was fishy the way there are so many domains that transfer out every day. If it’s so good, why so many transfers out? Also note the quality of the domains that are using it.Here is some evidence of the above:http://www.dailychanges.comhttp://www.dailychanges.com…On a consistent basis, for any given day, there are domains being transferred out of cloudflare (toggle the dates for any day you want and you will see).Cloudflare sits in front of your own dns servers and caches traffic and is supposed to prevent DOS attacks and provide faster response. But it doesn’t appear to be fully fleshed out yet and as a result there are problems. What you are seeing with may be an artifact of this. Or, it could simply be that the owner of the domain is stealing some of the traffic that is coming in that is meant for Definitely a possibility.An Overview of CloudFlareCloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.And then of course there is this:

          3. Dale Allyn

            Good points and observations, LE.

          4. Techman

            Wow…good observations. I would have never looked into them as much as you did, so good job.

          5. Roger Ellman

            LE very interesting stuff. Something new and important – I learnt from this. Thank you.

      2. ShanaC

        people pronounce it like the second one….

        1. Techman

          I pronounce it like the first one. But I do see where people would pronounce the second word as the first word.

    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      great to hear, thanks roger! would love to hear about the bugs you’ve mentioned – can you email us?

  10. JimHirshfield

    I want a kids version of Codecademy. Although I confessed to not getting passed the first few lessons due to time constraints, it would thrill me to no end to sit with my pre-teens and go through lessons.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      interesting. we’ve seen a lot of people asking for something like this – lots of our courses are easy enough for kids (the HTML/CSS stuff specifically) but we’re always looking to make things easier and more intuitive for younger learners.

      1. Lisa Mogull

        Zach, Jim is right. My 9-year-old son took a mobile game programming class at General Assembly and LOVED it! He would happily do a Codecademy course for kids. Needs to be more fun and whimsical to keep their attention. The other demographic you should target are seniors — I’m not joking. Learning to code is as good or better a brain workout as doing crosswords. You should think of partnering with a group like AARP or

        1. codeavengers

          I am TRYING to create CodeCademy like courses targeted at high school kids. The result is http://codeavengers.comWe have had hundreds of schools kids use the site in the UK and have been getting great feedback from parents and teachers. The general feedback is that they have found our site more suitable for kids. Would love more feedback and more kids to give it a try.The JavaScript course is designed for 14yo+ but with parent and teacher help we have had kids as young as 9 complete the course.The HTML course is simpler and 10yo+ seem to be OK with it… with a little help.

      2. Techman

        Having a kids version would be good. Perhaps we could get even more child programmers in this world to cope with the demand of the computer industry.

      3. Ben Apple

        I think codecademy works for pre-teens and teens, but maybe some really simple and intuitive for younger kids, where they create something in a fun way without realizing they’re learning. How young are these kids that want to program???

    2. William Mougayar

      I like that idea a lot.

    3. Techman

      That is a good idea Jim.

      1. JimHirshfield


  11. scottythebody

    I love the idea of Codecademy. Really awesome skills to learn: The skills to make more awesome.Even outside the startup world, here in the bowels of corporate and NGO IT and security, from where I write this email, there are far too few people who know how to code. Code can build products, but it can also build a tool that helps you do your daily work much more efficiently and, therefore, improve your life. When I need to hire any sort of systems person these days, I insist on the ability to code as a requirement.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      great to hear. we think that’s the direction the world is going in.

  12. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fred – You say javascript is client side.The capabilities of Node.js server side allow you to run same code on the server as in the browser. This is great for testing, but also supports the distribution of load flexibility of processing in browser – but being able to haul back to the server if needed. quote the site “Node.js is a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.”

    1. ShanaC

      node is a lot more difficult than client side javascript because of the event driven qualities. More to keep in your head. When just starting out, not something I would be looking for.

  13. ShanaC

    I’m going to be the kind voice of disagreement.I started code year and udacity 101 and codecademy at the same time. The 101 got me much further than codecademy, mostly because the person teaching really understood how to set up the course to teach (irrespective of video or not). The open sourcing of the lessons isn’t quite working, because for some of the lessons I’m not really sure what I should be getting out of it, as as a result I abandoned.*sigh* pedagogy in teaching what a pain.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks for the comments, shana. i’d love to hear more about your experience using udacity and codecademy. we find that oftentimes users use us as complementary products – most of our users aren’t the types that would take a CS101 course, but we make a nice complement to those who are.

      1. ShanaC

        I admit to being strange that way. I tried the 20randomNum() at udacity as well (I might go back and do a different one, I did the one with Peter Norvig, and I found he pulled concepts out of nowhere. while sounding like your kindly old grandfather). The big differences I found were1) the 101 was very clear in its goals of what it wanted to teach and why. It made sure that every lesson filled out an overaching scheme of programming for that set.2) They then chunked it down in sections. You have that part nailed though, in a lot of ways better than Udacity (I haven’t checked coursera, so don’t ask me).3) They had “quizes”, and before and after every quiz they reviewed the same material sets, with after being a segway into what to was to be learned next.4) Their “homeworks” directly related back to quizes, particularly parts where you wrote code. Often times, if you were really good, you would see that they were basically copying code from one part of the lesson and changing it slightly in order to answer the homework (really subtle teaching of patterns in code)For me, the combo of 1 +3 made a big difference. When I sat down to do a lesson, I knew why I was learning some concept, how it fit into the overarching goal set of concepts, and how the different concepts I would be learning would relate to each other. I saw improvement in my own toy programs as a result, because I knew why in a vague intuitive way that one learns as one starts out mastering a concept, for example, refractors or why one builds a class. (and when)The biggest problem they had was introduction to the language (in this case, python). If this was a spoken language, where do I go to learn more “words”, particularly “verbs” and “nouns.” How do I figure out what they mean? And how do I build up a vocabulary and grammatical set (aka data structures and algorithms) big enough to “read and write basic literature”Solving the verb + noun issue for a lot of people would be a big help. The references for a lot of languages are by their nature, terse, and not so helpful in learning how to use the language in actual programs when you are first starting out. I also seriously think you should make contacts at Columbia Teacher’s college or Steinhardt about pedagogy, particularly young adult and adult pedagogy (over age 15), since even though the lessons are written by master programmers, having someone look them over and reorder the lessons based on the way people learn/creating a master style guide for creating lessons based on the way people learn can’t hurt. 🙂

    2. leigh

      my daughter got stuck on codeacademy as well. think it just needs some tweaking over time though bc she got way further than even she thought she would…..

  14. ShanaC

    Edit: that being said, I probably would use codecademy for brushing up on some very specific topics I want to learn. Specific being very key

    1. Dale Allyn

      Shana, have you looked at MIT OpenCourseware: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming? It uses python as the learning platform, so it’s essentially a practical python course. Free, online, with videos and study groups, or just solo run-through for fun, etc.

      1. ShanaC

        Currently, I find opencourseware really badly organized. Though I will take a look. Apparently I am a step past that now (i completed a 101)

        1. Dale Allyn

          ahh, I haven’t looked at in a while. I did a quick run-through when it first launched and didn’t mind it. Maybe my expectations weren’t high enough. I had looked at it specifically for python, then ended up just poking around the python documentation and tutorials to satisfy my craving at the time.

  15. mikenolan99

    Has anyone heard about the Flatiron school? son has an interview this week, and is very excited.He’s a senior at the University of Minnesota in Computer Science, and is all about start-ups. Flat Iron sounds like a great experience.

  16. kidmercury

    codeacademy and social learning are great ideas, hot trends. lots of money in here and i hope fred will rub it in when the paycheck arrives.i do think bubble 2.0 has created a bubble in software development. while the software development bubble is far, far less of a problem, i do think there needs to be a reorganization of software talent — less corporations and more freelancers participating at the edge of open source communities (i.e. developers in drupal, wordpress, android, etc). also, not everyone needs to code and it will still take 10,000+ hours of practice to be awesome at it. i think we’ve crossed the threshold where custom design and branding are more valuable than custom software development (which overlaps a good bit with design, but i still think warrants its own distinction as it leverages a slightly different).but codeacademy is cool and well-positioned in spite of all that.

    1. leigh

      Think we will see a rise at the edges. Was listening to a innovator in music talking about niche communities and earning a living and having a creative life. Not exactly a structure that is in place now, but wil become more important over time. It’s the natural ebb and flow just probably swung too hard in one direction right now.

  17. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m madly in love with Codecademy, DuoLingo (and Lynda). These are the projects that have the potential to empower anyone, and that’s what the Internet should do.I know all about the 10,000 hours thing. But everyone should understand how computers work and how programming works. I think eventually we’ll be at a point where meeting someone who doesn’t understand computer logic will be like meeting someone now who doesn’t know how to drive a car.

    1. fredwilson

      1. obscurelyfamous

        Yup. Lynda does some really good training videos.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Yes. The price is reasonable, and the selection is huge. It’s great knowing I can dive into a series there whenever I need to get up to speed on something.

  18. Akshay Mishra

    Err…apologies for being nitpicky here (and this isn’t HN) but here goes – jQuery is not a language! 🙂

  19. Techman

    I’m just starting to use Codecademy to learn JavaScript. It is pretty good. It has really easy to learn lessons. Ben from Disqus referred to me to it.

  20. griggle

    I’ve been following codeyear and codecadamey. Neither codeyear or codecademy have are detailed enough to stand on their own. They are much better as a virtual workbook to show what is going on with some examples. With that said I do think they provide great value and would like to see it expanded and made more professional.It has the potential to replace a technical college with a well thought out course load that ends with new careers for those that complete it. Using Javascript, HTML, & CSS is good as there is a shortage of UX and front end coders.

  21. obscurelyfamous

    This is a huge update. Congrats @zachsims:disqus and team.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder


  22. Lavern Bond

    I recently heard about Codeacademy a few weeks ago and have made it one of my to-dos. Coding hasn’t always been my primary focus but if I want to be taken seriously, I have to return to coding.

  23. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Very apropos…Anyone who’s tried to start a high-tech business quickly learns that what’s taught in business school is nearly useless in all your thoughts regarding the above article (via @theeconomist today).

  24. John@RemodelingBIBLE

    It’s my first time dropping by and I think you’ve got a new fan, Fred.

    1. ShanaC


  25. Andy

    The codecademy platform is absolutely fantastic. I admit I’ve been falling behind on code year, but when I do get a chance to go through a few it’s nothing but fun.

  26. Justin Kuepper

    I love Code Academy, Code School, etc. But StackOverflow has taught me WAY more about programming than any teaching website ever could. Basically ever search I make on Google related to programming has a SO answer!

  27. Donna Brewington White

    and the spam bots have figured out how to do mentions! Mods — vermin in our midst.@wmoug:disqus @ShanaC:disqusThey sent one to me from yesterday’s post.

  28. ShanaC

    God damn it, I thought I caught that via email. Gahhhhhh.

  29. JimHirshfield

    Dude, I rebuilt an iPhone. Plumbed in a full bathroom. And frequently fix broken toys. That’s technical, ain’t it?

  30. LE

    I’m good at that “mechanical/spatial” type stuff as well. (Is that what it’s called?). I’m quite good with physical objects and it’s easier for me to put together self assembly furniture w/o the instructions or cook something w/o a recipe. The recipe says “cook for 8 minutes each side and check” hard to remember. The concept is “salmon is steaming and oil is oozing onto the tin foil”.I tend to like learning concepts and then applying the concepts.My guess is that you do the same.So the skills you learn doing (or making a mistake) in one thing you apply to something else.You don’t need to read instructions which tell you not to over-tighten the screws when attaching a hard drive to a hard drive sled. You just know because it makes sense.One of the great things about not being a kid anymore is that you don’t have to worry about breaking anything. And not to forget that things today are so cheap so if you break no big deal. Just buy another.

  31. JimHirshfield

    We are the same that way.