In Divya Manian’s controversial post on Smashing Magazine discussing HTML semantics, something that she said got somewhat overlooked in all the debates that ensued.
At the end of the article, she pointed out that rather than wasting time debating HTML tag use, developers should focus on learning how to program. I think this is great advice. So to that end, I’ve compiled a roundup of sources where beginners can expand their skills past HTML and CSS.
Their “about” page explains: “Codecademy was created out of the frustrations Zach and Ryan felt with learning how to program. Tired with less effective text and video resources, Ryan and Zach teamed up to create Codecademy, a better, more interactive way to learn programming by actually coding.”
You’ve probably seen this one advertised on CSS-Tricks. The Treehouse mission is “to teach Web Design, Development and iOS to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world.” Sounds like an overly-optimistic mission to me, but from their testimonials, Chris Coyier’s endorsement, and the overall design of the site, this looks like a great way to learn a whole slew of different technologies.
With the Treehouse method, users watch videos, then takes tests to unlock badges. Seems like a simple and effective concept that’s worth looking into.
appendTo Developer Learning Center
Another text-based resource, but a much larger one, jQuery Fundamentals by Rebecca Murphey boasts “contributions by James Padolsey, Paul Irish, and others.”
The course is a set of audio recordings taken from lectures done by Tony Pittarese, an assistant professor of Computer and Information Sciences at East Tennessee State University. Addi endorses the course, however he does point out that there are some minor things in it that would not be considered best practice today.
Code School let’s you learn “by doing through interactive video + coding in the browser” and includes courses covering jQuery, CSS, CoffeScript, Rails, and more. This course is endorsed by a number of well-respected members of the design and development community and you can read more about it on this article on .net magazine.
This looks like a serious option for those who want high-quality learning and are willing to pay a fee. I’m a little miffed at myself for not including this in the original list, but better late than never, and I’m sure many will find this page via search and will be none the wiser.
I can’t personally vouch for all the material in these resources. But all of these have come, in one way or another, endorsed by well-known front-end developers in our industry. So if you’re a beginner whose been working with HTML and CSS for some time now, any one of these resources could be used to help you step up your game and start programming.
As always, if you know of another resource in the category of learning to program for beginners, post it in the comments.