Learning How to Write Code for HTML, CSS, SQL, Javascript, and More!

In my last post, “Want to Learn How to Program?” I introduced you to a site called Codecademy.  It is a site that produces step-by-step courses on how to write code.  It adds in the fun aspect of awarding you with badges and points as you complete courses.  I’m still using the site to learn myself and find it really useful.

One thing that I was a little disappointed about with Codecademy was that there were no courses on SQL.  As a financial analyst hopeful, I want to learn this language.  It is a common code used to retrieve information off of databases and servers in many companies.

A short while after I posted the programming blog entry on my Facebook page, a friend of mine reminded me of a great web site that teaches you how to code.  I actually used this web site about three years ago to teach myself HTML and CSS.  I literally knew nothing about web design going in and after about 3 days on this site I had a full site running.  I can’t believe I forgot about this great resource!

This great site I’m talking about is W3Schools.com.

The site is crisp, clean, and straight forward.  Down the left side of the home page, there is a list of all the tutorials available.  You can master HTML, CSS, Javascript SQL, JQuery, and a whole slew of other languages.

Its teaching style is similar to Codecademy in that you learn through examples.  For the HTML tutorial, there is an online HTML editor where you write the code and then run it to see what you’ve made.  The courses are pretty comprehensive.  In the “HTML Basic” tutorial there are over 20 chapters.  Each chapter covers a specific topic such as “Elements”, “Blocks”, or “Iframes”.  This is a great way to learn because you get a really good grasp of the language, but it does take a little longer.

W3Schools doesn’t have a badge or point system, but they do have a couple very cool features.  There is a quiz section for each tutorial so you can go back and see if you remember what you have learned.  Another feature that W3Schools provides is certifications for each course.  They can be a little pricy, around $100 for each certification, but if you want to show you know what you are doing it can be of good use (learning the language is free, it’s the certificate that costs you money).

One complaint I’ve seen around is that putting a W3Schools certificate on your resume can actually hurt you.  I’ve read forums where they claim that some employers will laugh at it.  I have no clue if this is true or not, but I partially agree and partially disagree.

I wouldn’t put the W3Schools certificate in the same section as my education or other designations.  Having W3Schools beside the “CFA Designation” or “BComm with honors in Finance” or “CSC Certificate” would look silly.  It’s not a widely know certificate and somebody may be turned off if they see it there.  Where I think it belongs is in your “Skills” section of your resume.  It could be written like this: “Competent in web site design through the use of HTML, CSS, and Javascript as demonstrated through gaining certificates in each programming language.”  What it shows is that you have a strong grasp of the tools; you haven’t simply done a couple tutorials and watched a couple YouTube videos on the subject.  But, at the same time you aren’t proclaiming it is a prestigious and hard to achieve certificate, because it isn’t.

So visit the web site and give W3Schools a shot.  Take 3 days to go through a whole tutorial such as HTML, Javascript, or SQL.  And if you like, try attaining the certificate if you feel it would boost your confidence in expressing your knowledge in the subject.

Thanks for reading and good luck out there!

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