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Code Year, A Programming Class For Dummies That Goes Out Via Email

And the most ringing endorsement? Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed up for it.

Code Year, A Programming Class For Dummies That Goes Out Via Email

Last fall I raved about Codecademy, a startup offering super-simple—and brilliantly designed—interactive programming lessons. It was the first time I’d seen a "teach yourself programming" tool that actually looked engaging enough to use myself. Since then Codecademy has landed $2.5 million in venture capital and become the hot startup du jour. Not bad for a site whose main feature is a text box with a command line interface.

But Codecademy isn’t resting on its laurels. It has unveiled a new iteration of its service called "Code Year 2012." Like the standalone site that preceded it, Code Year is no loud, flashy breakthrough in interaction design. In fact, it’s basically just the same content as before, hooked up to a mass-emailer that sends out links to new lessons once a week, every week, for a year.

[Click to visit Code Year]

But that’s the thing about good design: It doesn’t have to be loud or flashy to be effective as hell. How effective? Since January 1, Code Year has signed up nearly 300,000 people, including—wait for it—Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City. That dude is old. Which means Codecademy’s simple-but-effective design is about as effective as you can possibly get. And this isn’t some kiddified, GUI-enhanced toy language like Scratch—Code Year teaches Javascript, the lingua franca of real-world web developers.

If the idea that Bloomberg can code and you can’t fills you with shame, head over to Code Year and remedy the situation. You’ll be passing the vaunted Fizz Buzz test in no time.

Click here to read an essay about learning code by the founder of Codecademy.

[Illustration: Serp/Shutterstock]