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By Mark Niemann-Ross | Saturday, July 11, 2015

Take Back Your Summer! Learn to Code

learn to code this summer

OK, kids. You thought you had two precious months of freedom. Nobody to tell you what to do. Sleep until noon, hang out with friends, no schedule.

But you’re finding everyone else has plans for you—right? #takeoutthegarbage #mowthelawn #cleanyourroom #loadthedishwasher #readagoodbook #getajob #takecareofyourlittlebrother #nomorescreentime

Don’t panic! We have a plan that’s going to make you cooler, get your parents off your back, and earn you more screen time. Are you ready?

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Monday, June 29, 2015

Are You a Self-Taught Coder? Here's Some Advice

self-taught coder?

If you are a self-taught programmer, you’re in excellent company. Forty-eight percent of respondents to the 2015 stackoverflow survey said they never received a degree. Fifty-two percent have been coding for less than six years. More programmers have a github account than have a degree.

We asked the self-taught coders at lynda.com how and why they learned what they know—and to share advice to other self-taught programmers.

Here’s what they told us:

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Code Clinic Courses in Swift, R, C, and JavaScript

new code clinic languages

Programmers and musicians have similar brains. We’re good at recognizing patterns. We’re persistent. We savor the graceful expression of an idea.

And … we spend a lot of time talking about our tools, rather than the craft. Guitarists will talk for hours about the perfect set of strings or the merits of a ’69 Telecaster. Programmers argue (vehemently!) about the perfect language or where to place a closing brace.

None of that is music or code. Music and code come from thoughtfulness and appreciation of the art. For programmers, this is where computational thinking and the concepts taught in Code Clinic become important.

This year, we’re releasing four new Code Clinics. Let me explain why…

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Friday, April 03, 2015

Code as a Second Language – And Why It Matters

Code as a Second Language - Why It Matters

Learning to code is being proposed by some as an alternative to learning a second language. Imagine having the choice: French, English or JavaScript. It’s an interesting concept, but could present problems if you’re, for example, traveling in Spain and order a bottle of fine Rioja with something like “function getwine(‘2 liter’,’house’){};”

Research on brain activity conducted with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may support a connection between foreign and computer languages. A person is placed in an MRI scanner, then asked to perform a task. As the task is performed, scientists observe what parts of the brain use more oxygen, which identifies the parts of the brain being used for specific tasks.

This research suggests that our brains respond to computer programming in the same way as performing music, verbal creativity, problem solving, memorizing, repeating actions, deduction or rhyming. Rhyming words like “weep”, “beep”, and “sleep” light up your brain the same way as “while (x > 1) { result = result * x; x--; }”.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Code Clinic 6: Building Dynamic Websites

code clinic 6

When the Internet first made an appearance, it was nothing more than a collection of fixed web pages. Back then, web pages didn’t use external data to build the dynamic sites we now expect as a daily experience. Incorporating real-time data such as finance, weather, updates from friends or the status of a thermostat changed the Internet from a static library of reference materials into a busy highway of information.

Code Clinic Six challenges our authors to use their language of choice to merge data with a web page template.

We’re starting with files created by James Williamson for chapter nine of his Dreamweaver CC Essential Training course, but instead of manually inserting the data into the page, we’re using code to bring the data and the HTML together.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Code Clinic Tackles 2 Top Programming Skills

The latest Code Clinic focuses on recursion and sorting

Want to work for Google? The company recently published a list of programmer skills it thinks are basic requirements. The list included “Develop strong understanding of algorithms and data structures,” including sorting algorithms—and that’s what the newest Code Clinic is all about.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Code Clinic: Program a Musical Instrument

2014_10_22_CodeClinicHero

If you want to learn to program, you can’t do better than watching an expert coder at work.

Code Clinic is a series of courses from lynda.com that gives you a front-row seat to watch a panel of expert authors solve computer challenges—and this fourth Code Clinic challenge is deceptively simple:

Create a musical instrument using the mouse.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Thursday, October 02, 2014

Learn the Practical Side of IT (and Get Back to Your Real Job)

Learn IT with new IT courses

I stupidly accepted a new office next to the printer room.

Other employees would dash into the printer room on their way to a meeting, then curse and pound the copier because it wouldn’t print. I heard them shuffling around and knew it was only moments before they would lean out and ask me for help clearing the paper jam.

This happened five minutes before the hour—every hour—from start to end of business day.

The day they moved the servers into the printer room was the day I moved my office. I was not interested in learning server maintenance, and certainly not interested in rebooting the wifi.

You may not have the option of moving your office—or you may be one of those unfortunates cursing the printer. Possibly you have an IT staff dedicated to helping out—if only you can describe what’s broken.

In all cases, you’ll benefit from learning about servers, networks, and IT in general.

And you’re in luck at lynda.com.

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