Last week I finished a free online course from Udacity.com (google it if you're unfamiliar - it's frickin' bomb!) So I thought I'd write a post about my experience.
SO good. I learned python, google app engine and how to create my own website....though this time I'll retain it a little longer. The lectures are given in video format, and they are so well edited that if you really like software, you won't even realize you're taking a course - it'll feel like entertainment! Until you get to the assignments of course - that's where the real learning comes. They start off riDICulously easy, at least for anyone who's written code before, and they slowly get a bit harder, though the only issues with completing them you'll have are with debugging weird nuances of GAE....you don't even need to know python to start, because everything you need is usually the first link in a google search result page.
The best part is that it's all FREE! And these courses are no joke - they really are quality. Not only that, they're taught by big-time names in the industry, and even decorated professors from around the world. The one I took (CS259) was taught by the creator of Reddit, and it really does feel like he's teaching you.
IMHO the online course format offered by Udacity is WAY better than university - FOR THESE TYPES of courses, that is. You see, the marking is done by automated tests, and in a course like this, where the answer is either right or wrong with no grey area, that's easy to do.
At times it felt like a way to get more people to develop with a google framework (Udacity is founded by a Google Fellow), and even to advertise Steve Huffman's new project, Hipmunk...but honestly, it's a high-quality (like, google-high-quality) university course offered for free, in a format that will allow you to enjoy it too.
So yeah, if you like software go take a course on the site. I'm trying the debugging one next. I'll need some extra debugging skills for work.
I did the bonus on my 'final exam' (it's not really a final exam, there's no time limit...but it was fun though), and though it's pretty bare bones, I'm proud of the job I did in a short time. Here it is: https://github.com/masudio/masudio_wiki. Maybe one day my cyborg grandkids will want to see it to understand how primitive humans used to share their thoughts.
GAddAMN that's geeky. :D