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Where to begin if you're learning to code
Last weekend IRE hosted a new bootcamp for journalists to learn web scraping and programming in Python. IRE offers workshops like this often -- check our events and training page for opportunities to learn new data skills. But if you were unable to make a bootcamp or just can't wait until NICAR14 to start learning, here are some resources to help you begin.
WHERE TO START
Bento is a diagram to walk you through where to begin when you want to learn coding. You can begin with HTML and watch as your next step languages are highlighted, or if you already have some experience, you can click any language you’re familiar with and other related languages will be sorted for you.
“Learning to make the internets - a journalist’s guide” - Andy Boyle: http://www.andymboyle.com/2011/07/11/learning-to-make-the-internets-a-journalists-guide/
Boyle’s guide is funny and insightful, explaining why you should begin with learning HTML and how can you progress from there. Once you get down the basics, Boyle’s site also includes an entire section devoted to “journo web dev” as well as links to other great resources.
ONLINE TUTORIALS (FREE)
Pros: Lessons are broken into small pieces, so they’re easy to complete if you only have a few minutes.
Cons: Many lessons build off of each other. If you want to go back and review a section, you may need to read more than one lesson for context.
Pros: Coursework is taught by professionals and is more structured and class-like.
Cons. Course offerings change frequently.
Coursera courses are created by universities and function more like online classrooms. Students watch or listen to lectures and participate in online quizzes and class interactions. Classes are free, but some courses also offer a paid version. Students must enroll, but are not required to complete all assignments. You receive assistance from other students enrolled in their course. At the end, you will receive a grade or statement of progress from their professor.
ONLINE TUTORIALS (SUBSCRIPTION)
Pros: Wide variety of content is available and is frequently updated.
Cons: The site is organized by projects, rather than by languages.
Code School: http://www.codeschool.com
Pros: Code School offers tutorials that other sites don’t have, such as R, Git, and Unix.
Cons: Unlike Treehouse, you must set up automatic payments.
Code School, like Treehouse, offers video tutorials, challenges and badges through a monthly subscription of $25 a month, but students can win prizes for completing a course. The site provides reviews from previous users on course material.
Pros: Courses may provide more than just how-tos. Great if you want to learn the history of a language.
Cons: Course videos aren't broken down, and they can be longer than 3 hours.
Lynda provides in depth video tutorials and exercises through paid subscriptions. Subscriptions start at $25 a month and are not limited to one subject. Coursework covers a wide variety of topics, but how the course is structured will vary depending on the instructor. Certificates are available for completing coursework.
PROGRAMS CREATED FOR JOURNALISTS
Code with me: http://codewithme.us/
Code with me is a two-day coding workshop designed specifically for journalists. There is an application process and an $85 registration fee for students. In sessions, there is one mentor for every two students. The teaching materials are also available online under a Creative Commons license if you want to arrange your own workshop.
For Journalism: http://forjournalism.com/
Hacks/Hackers: Many cities host Hacks/Hackers meetups for journalists to learn and develop code alongside more experienced journalists and programmers.