Practically every industry operates at least partly on a digital platform: manufacturing, healthcare, banking, communications, retail, and the list goes on. With the rising demand for computer programming and development skills, it’s no surprise that some of our most popular courses are coding courses. Instructors like Alan Simpson make computer programming classes exciting and applicable to the real world. Alan has published over 100 computer and coding books and has been professionally developing web apps for over a decade. He brings all this experience and expertise to several of our coding courses.
We took some time to interview Alan to get his take on the industry and learn more about his teaching experience.
ed2go: What do you enjoy most about teaching online coding courses?
Alan Simpson: I was a book author for many years. The one thing that is missing from that is contact with the students. With an online course, you get pace and can structure the material to facilitate learning. Plus, you can answer questions for people, which really helps with the whole learning process.
And, students discussing things among themselves in the online discussion areas is an added bonus. They help each other learn, and teach each other new things. It’s an outstanding learning environment for everyone.
What was the most interesting coding project you’ve worked on?
There have been so many, though lately I was faced with a situation where multiple offices needed to schedule multiple events on strange schedules like “the second Tuesday of every other month from 6:00 to 9:00” and other very specific time slots. Each office had its own schedules, and those schedules could change at any time.
They wanted to be able to open up a calendar showing all the filled and available time-slots going forward and have the ability to assign a person to the “next available” time slot, or any available time slot. And of course, then they needed to un-schedule and reschedule and so forth, all of the time.
Making that all work in a web browser, so they can do it online from any internet-connected computer in the world, turned out to be an interesting challenge. Tough on the brain cells. But I got it working.
What is your favorite coding language?
When you were first learning to code, what did you have a tough time with, and how did you work through it? Is computer programming hard?
Computers have no brains so you can’t tell them what to do in plain English. You have to reduce your vocabulary to a couple dozen words and a few basic concepts of how to store and access information. It’s so much simpler than what we do with our own brains, that it’s actually hard. It was hard for me, anyway. And I see it’s often hard for others. We just don’t normally break things down into such small, simple steps. But once you get the hang of that and understand that you’re just trying to explain things to a really dumb machine, using very simple language, you get over a hump, a bump in the learning curve. From there on out, it all makes sense, and learning becomes a lot easier.
Hands-on practice is part of the best computer programmer education. Writing code has made me the developer I am today. I always encourage people just to keep trying things out and see what happens. That’s how you learn. And you don’t have to worry about breaking something. If the code is bad, then you get a weird result or no result. But you don’t break anything or do any permanent harm.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in development and/or programming?
Alan Simpson teaches these computer programming courses:
- Introduction to CSS3 and HTML5
- Intermediate CSS3 and HTML5
- Creating Web Pages
Are you ready to learn a programming language? We can help!
To learn more about our online computer programming and coding courses, fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch immediately: