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Summer Programming Courses Before Heading Off To College? 183

Posted by timothy
from the straight-to-the-army dept.
First time accepted submitter LiteWait writes "My son is heading off to college next year and although he is bright kid with a great background in math and science, he has indicated that he'd like learn some introductory programming skills this summer. The courses at the local universities are pretty sparse and most of the CS101-type courses I've seen offered are too general to meet his needs. Even though he is a self-starter I think he would benefit from actual courses/code camps/etc rather than just slogging through online samples and tutorials. I'd like some advice on possible options for code camps, online courses, or developer training."
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Summer Programming Courses Before Heading Off To College?

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  • Learn X The Hard Way (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:29PM (#42823945)

    A decent self-study course is the Learn X The Hard Way (originally X = Python, now Ruby and C are available as well):

    http://learncodethehardway.org/

    Focuses heavily on code-as-language, so the early exercises may remind you of typical foreign-language study: "type these things, explain what they mean, etc".

  • Re:Python (Score:3, Informative)

    by spongebue (925835) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:30PM (#42823971) Homepage
    If you go that route, I like Learn Python the Hard Way [learnpytho...ardway.org]. I used it to learn Python from my Java background, but it's also great for those that have never programmed in their life. The basic programming structures (loops, conditions, classes, etc) are all covered and can be transferred to other languages, and it's not too strenuous despite its name (while still learning stuff, of course). Everything is very well narrated.
  • Codecademy (Score:5, Informative)

    by djKing (1970) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:38PM (#42824063) Homepage Journal

    Our daughter signed up for Codeademy (http://codeademy.com/)to help her with a CS course she was taking at UBC. She's in Arts but needed a science and CS fit the bill. She found Codeademy very helpful. She got an A+ in the CS course.

  • Come to Cambridge (Score:2, Informative)

    by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @04:45PM (#42824147) Homepage

    If you are in the Metro-Boston area, or trust your child in Cambridge for the summer, Harvard Summer School admits high school students and has 2 good courses this summer: "Great Ideas in Computer Science with Java" and "Intensive Introduction to Computer Science Using Java." The later sounds like a better match if you're worried about courses that are too simple or slow-paced. "Building Mobile Applications" may be more compelling than more traditional programming courses, but has a higher barrier in terms of prerequisite programming experience and required hardware.
    http://www.summer.harvard.edu/courses/subject/computer-science [harvard.edu]
    http://www.summer.harvard.edu/programs/secondary-school [harvard.edu]

    Unfortunately, if he is not near or cannot get to Cambridge, MA, USA, there does not seem to be any good distance courses offered this summer.

    Also, Harvard's CS50, Introduction to Computer Science, is available online. This includes lecture video, hand-outs, problem sets, and quizzes. This is a good option if he is truly a self-starter and will allow him to work at his own pace. This is not the usual online tutorial. This is the same lectures and materials presented to students of Harvard College and the University Extension.
    http://cs50.tv/ [cs50.tv]

    At one point the CS50 lectures were also available on iTunes. I don't know if this is still true.

  • Re:Python (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:42PM (#42825029)

    Python is considered by many to be a great entry-level language and it's also very popular in the real world.

    I agree that Python is a good first language. But there may be a better language for him to learn: The language used in the introductory course of the college he will be attending this fall. In fact, this "ask Slashdot" question seems silly. His best option is to contact the college he will be attending, get their list of summer courses, and pick one. That way he will not only be learning to program, but he will be learning the right language, the right style of programming (where right == "what the professors want"), and he will get full college credit for the course, and have a head start over his classmates. This will also help his GPA because summer courses are graded on an easier curve since they have plenty of students that flunked or dropped out during the regular school year. He will also learn his way around the campus, and be more comfortable during the fall semester.

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