January 6th, 2012
03:39 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – Wished you had paid a little more attention in computer class? Learned to do more than just surf Facebook? You are not alone.

While companies and governments have been shedding jobs and paring back benefits, tech job openings continue to soar. According to Fortune magazine, software developers who specialize in applications will rise by over 30% by 2018. Jobs for computer system analysts will jump 20%.

And the pay is good – average salaries are around $94,000 a year.

That is good news for the hoards of young people who are already in the process of switching their college major from art history to computer science, but what about the rest of us?

Zach Sims thinks he has the answer.  Or at least some much needed help.  Anxious to upgrade his own considerable computer skills, the 21-year-old Connecticut native teamed up with a Columbia University friend Ryan Bubinski and started Codecademy, a free website which teaches the basics of writing computer code.

In the first four days of 2012 alone, the site has signed up more than 130,000 new users.

"I think we knew that programming was going to be the new version of literacy but at the same time it's pretty staggering to see the number of people who have signed up," said Sims.

You need to have Google Chrome or Firefox to access the site, but once you are on it, it is completely free and extremely easy to navigate. The site is designed so that people with no experience in coding can use it, but it is also easy enough to jump ahead if you have some background and just want to improve on your skills.

Sims makes no bones about the fact that this site isn't going to suddenly make you a computer expert or guarantee you a job.  But it can help you gain the knowledge to build a website to support your small business.

Codecamy has only been up and running since August, but Sims said he is committed to keeping the site free to users and wants to avoid turning to advertising to raise revenue. Instead, he hopes to a team up with corporations who may want to use the site to recruit.

As you can see from the piece we shot, my first attempt was a little rocky, but I am going to try and do the course. It may not get me my next promotion, but I hope it will help me better understand the gadgets which have become indispensible to me.

Are you interested in trying it?  Let me know what you think.

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Filed under: BusinessTechnology


soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. TDR

    You dont need to reduce your security by running Google or Firefox to access the site. IE9 works fine.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  2. Shadow

    a microsoft rep. as spoken.

    January 6, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  3. herbert

    not bad

    January 6, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  4. Nessie Amsterdam

    Will definitely be trying this site! As an older person, no one (younger) takes you seriously about wanting to learn!!!

    January 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  5. Frank

    An apple snob has spoken

    January 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  6. Santosh Krishnan

    Hi,

    Spelling mistake. It's not "Pairing back ... ", it's "paring back ... " ... who makes these mistakes – the people who write it, or those who finally put it on the media?

    January 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  7. Roger Versteeg

    Make sure Andrew doesn't go through Amsterdam's airport. He might get lost there, trying to take another flight. Just imagine. Tom Hanks would have a good excuse to make another good film!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Chris

    What's the book the kid mentioned? Programmer be programmed? Or..?

    January 7, 2012 at 3:26 am |
  9. chris

    While this may not get you a high paying job like a degree would, you could definitely use what you learn to freelance online.

    January 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  10. Iain

    The spelling error mentioned by Santosh seems to have been removed, but you still have "hoards" where you mean "hordes".

    January 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  11. Jim

    This is a good piece and thanks for turning me on to Codecademy. But you mean "hordes" – not "hoards" – and Codecadamy is misspelled in the 10th paragraph. Your editor let you down. Sorry to post such a trivial comment but it seems like this happens a lot on CNN.

    January 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  12. Jim

    Er, Codecademy... :)

    January 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  13. Kay

    I just tried it & i think it will prevent me from appearing illiterate hence forth

    January 11, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  14. TJ

    What was the name of that book? Cant find it anywhere. "Programmer Be Programs"??

    January 12, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  15. TJ

    Ok... so its called "Program OR be Programmed" by Douglas Rushkoff. ISBN 159376426X
    You're welcome!

    January 12, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  16. bnsmith

    TDR, Google Chrome is more secure than IE9. Chrome has built in anti-malware and anti-spyware protection and web browser updates about every 6 weeks

    January 12, 2012 at 5:37 am |
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    Google Chrome or Firefox to access the site

    September 22, 2012 at 10:27 am |
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    Computer programming requires some very intricate work. This is the type of work that thrives on details and people who work in this field understand that the absence of even the minute elements can spell a huge difference in the overall result. If a programmer fails to correct this problem, it can lead to errors down the line. As a result, bugs will appear in the system and errors will emerge later on. Programming is also taxing work, requiring hours upon hours of writing, testing and debugging. This is why computer programming thrives on team work. Without team work, a single computer program can take decades to complete..."

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