5 answers

My current high school doesn't have programming classes ?

Asked Wilmington, Vermont

I had a plan in my old school to take 2 years of programming but I moved. My new school has no programming classes and I don't want to go into college with no experience in the field. I want to go into the game design field and be a programmer but I am worried that I won't know anything about programming when I go to college. Are there any courses I could take online that would best help me learn the basics? #programming #game-design #game

5 answers

Blake’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

When I was in high school in the 90s all they offered was Pascal and Basic, which we're totally obsolete, so not having access to industry level experience isn't unusual for someone your age. You're going to have to find it yourself.

Start out with something like Code Academy (http://www.codecademy.com) and then, when you feel you're ready, check out some books from the library on programming for different platforms (iOS, Android, Node.js, Ruby on Rails). If you do that, you'll be way ahead of the curve by college.

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Thank you ill look into Code Academy.
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Thanks I'm going to try Code Academy.

Christopher’s Answer

Updated Irvine, California

If you were going to try to learn any field online, probably programming is your best choice. There are a ton of free resources to help you learn to program.

If you like the traditional class-like environment, there's the courses at MIT Open courseware (http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm) Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/) and a bunch of others. I searched Reddit's https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/ board and found this link: http://blog.agupieware.com/2014/05/online-learning-bachelors-level.html , that compiles a Computer Science B.S.-level curriculum together from different free course offerings across the internet.

If you're more of a learn on your own kind of person, there are a lot of tutorials out there. There's things like the Ruby Koans (http://rubykoans.com/) that teach you Ruby through test-driven development. Similarly CodeKata (http://codekata.com/) has a bunch of programming exercises for practice.

Once you cut your teeth on some programming take a look around for things like the code contests at Kaggle (https://www.kaggle.com/competitions), nothing sharpens skills like a little competition. Or consider contributing to an Open Source project like the ones at Apache (http://www.apache.org/). Many of the libraries that we as professionals use are created by volunteers and given back to the community. The projects there always need new volunteers and many projects have a "newbie" section that have tasks that are easier to accomplish so you can get your feet wet.

These are just a few things to get your mind going, I'm sure others will contribute many more and you can find many yourself by searching.

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Thank you i will look into this.

Eric’s Answer

Updated Cambridge, Massachusetts

A great thing about programming is that if you have access to a computer, you can do it (and that even means if you only have temporary access to a computer, like at a library). There are lots of ways to learn, depending on what your own learning styles are.

A very, very good starting place is http://www.codecademy.com/ .

The Internet is full of places to learn. Searching for the kind of thing you want to do plus the word "tutorial" can be surprisingly helpful, once you have the hang of the basics (from a place like CodeAcademy).

After you are starting to get used to the main ideas, you can try to find the kinds of programs that interest you and that you have the ability to make, and make more of them. Like interactive Web page games? The tutorials linked here: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Tutorials can take you very far. If you prefer mobile apps and have a smartphone, there are places to learn those, too (though I'll refrain from putting too many more links in this initial post).

In general, the most important thing for me was to work on projects I was actually interested in. Once you start to form thoughts like "I can control the character on the screen with the arrow keys, but how can I make it jump?" then you can do more targeted searches, and can learn by doing.

While there is some specialization in programming, most of what you learn can apply to a wide variety of programs. So, don't be discouraged if you find yourself learning best from things which aren't explicitly about games. I learned to program by making my own games, in fact, and now am using those skills on my job in Flight Search.

I hope this helps!

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Thank you i will look into this an maybe start programming a game.
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That's a fantastic way to start. You'll likely find that in the course of actually trying to accomplish something you're interested in, you will encounter, define and solve many subproblems, that collectively will build your skillset, and may put you ahead of what you might learn in a formal class.

Richie’s Answer

Updated Matawan, New Jersey

There are number of free online courses that teach you the basics of programming. For example check out the free course materials here: https://www.udacity.com/course/ud036.

Also check out the free book called "Thinking in Python" - http://www.mindview.net/Books/Python/ThinkingInPython.html.

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Thank you i will check it out

Nathan’s Answer

Updated Saint Albans, West Virginia

Hi Michael,

There are several ways that you can learn how to code being a HighSchool student. I recommend plugging into an online program such as CodeHS. https://codehs.com/. Once you have decided on the program that best fits your needs and budget, I would also recommend connecting with a local software/web development firm and see if someone is willing to mentor you for a summer.

Good Luck.

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Thank you i will look into it