How many languages can you program in? @Codecademy and its 24M users are getting more options soon. 

May 01 2014

Codecademy Now Home to 24 Million Programmers-in-Training

Students are rallying behind a pro–computer science initiative as a new way to learn basic programming online for free.


Computer science is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of education, and millions of students are taking online courses on Codecademy to bulk up their programming skills. In just two years, the site has become a thriving hub for beginning coders.

The online startup lifted the veil on its progress last week, boasting 24 million coders-in-training. Codecademy found a wellspring of students eager for its free online training in programming languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby, as well as basic courses in CSS and HTML.

Classrooms in the United States are also racing to get kids coding, and it's not hard to see what impact that could have on higher education. The Chicago Public School system is preparing to make computer science part of its core curriculum, introducing courses at area high schools over the next three years, and in kindergarten through eighth grade within five years.

The shift in curriculum focus is an attempt to get ahead of an explosion in computer sciences that will create more than a million openings in the field by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Codecademy Co-Founder and CEO Zach Sims released the numbers in a blog post Wednesday, along with news of a relaunch of Codecademy’s website and a video of the company's founders discussing their rapid growth since 2012.

"I wrote the first Javascript lesson for people like me, and if I could understand it, then we'd help the rest of the world be able to understand it as well," Sims said. "More than 24 million people have started on that journey with us."

Forbes notes that included among the touted 24 million users are those who registered an account, completed a course and then never returned. But the number also encompasses students who have been diligently amassing more than 1 billion lines of code across the site’s 100,000 student-created courses, according to Sims.

One of the most popular programming projects that sprang from the minds of Codecademy's students is, a marketplace for crowdfunding projects. The site was featured as one of Time magazine’s best websites of 2013.

The site includes testimonials from teachers who have used Codecademy courses in their classrooms, giving students a hub to dip their toes in the larger world of programming. And Codecademy is currently working with the U.K.’s Department of Education to create a computing syllabus that aims to teach each student two programming languages.

Starting this year, Codecademy will begin rolling out more advanced course options for students interested in taking the next steps toward becoming a professional programmer, says Sims.

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