Last week, in an attempt to help everyone become a more knowledgeable about coding, associates at DEG participated in the national Computer Science Education Week’s Hour of Code. The Hour of Code was created to introduce anyone and everyone to the world of programming.

Technology touches almost every part of our lives today, in almost every industry. There is software in everything from the dishwasher in your kitchen to the video cameras used to create blockbuster films. The ability to write code is becoming more invaluable with every passing year, and understanding more about how computers work will improve the ways you interact with them.

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DEG held two Hour of Code sessions for associates. The response was extremely positive, with everyone getting involved from HR and content strategy, to project management and accounting. Some of DEG’s engineers made themselves available to answer questions and help out in general. Many associates took advantage of the opportunity, and some of them have started a weekly study group to continue their learning.

The tutorials I selected for this year fell into three categories: introduction, expansion and practice.

Introduction Tutorials

The beginner’s introduction tutorials all focused on core programming fundamentals (like loops, procedures, conditions, etc.) and logical problem solving skills. These usually don’t require any typing, and the participants were walked through the steps without much room to deviate. A couple examples we used are Code.org’s “Frozen” coding tutorial and CodeMonkey’s banana challenge.

Expansion Tutorials

The second set of tutorials focused on expanding skills in a more commonly-used programming language. These tutorials often require typing code and offer more opportunities to be creative and go your own direction. The focus shifts toward building on established fundamentals and putting it in a broader context of building something interesting and useful. A couple examples of these are GrokLearning’s MUD tutorial in Python and CodeAvenger’s intro to game building in JavaScript.

Practice Tutorials

Experienced programmers were also able to get involved with some websites that structure and reward programming practice. These websites provide sets of small programming tasks and challenges that are intended to help programmers explore different kinds of problems and discover new ways to think through solutions. Some of them include multi-user features like competitions and code reviews. The examples we used are CodeWars and CodinGame.

While nobody is going to learn how to code in an hour, the Hour of Code was a great way to introduce the idea to a broad audience. Even if you don’t change careers to become a programmer, understanding more about how computers work will help you to be more effective at your current job, especially as computers expand into more and more areas of our daily lives. If you have even a passing interest in programming, I encourage you to work through a few Hour of Code tutorials and see what you think. Hopefully you will find it as fun and rewarding as I do.

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