Yesterday I completed the Web Development Course (Node.js) at Progate. Progate is a Japanese startup founded in 2014 aiming to help people learn to program. I learned about Progate after watching Disrupting Japan's podcast on them back in April, 2019.
Since I used to be a Computer Science and ICT international school teacher, I enjoy trying new learning platforms regarding computer programming. I used so many in the past with my students, but rarely does one, outside of Code Academy, teach you a language. Many are gamified options are available and fun for students. Do they really learn a language with games, though? I never saw it. With schools really trying to keep games off campus, as at my last school in Shanghai, it was not really a good option for me.
Also, I really like to brush up my programming skills. Back in graduate school, I studied Perl/CGI. I self taught myself PHP and Python working on personal web projects afterwards. I even studied a bit of Java, my least favorite programming language, before I taught a Computer Science class in Shanghai. Despite having these skills, I never programmed outside of HTML and CSS. So back in 2019, I gave Progate a try.
Unfortunately, I failed. It was not the fault of Progate, it was my own. I was still burned out from anything related to IT in 2019. It would change later that year, when I got introduced to Jamstack.
Jamstack got me interested in IT again!
I created my first Gridsome website shortly after. I then moved to NuxtJS. Eventually I developed websites in Next.js and finally SvelteKit. I design the Tailwind CSS. I even learned how to use headless content management systems with headless WordPress and Hygraph as my two favorites. Of course, I deploy to Vercel who have top-notch customer support.
Time to learn Typescript
I completed it relatively fast. I have been using and teaching IT for a long time now. I was surprised that I really enjoyed the courses at Progate. I did not expect to like it.
What I liked
Remember, I have a IT background so I am taking the perspective of a person who has learned a programming language before. Beginners will have different thoughts about Progate than me.
- Progate is great to review and brush up on programming languages.
- I never studied CSS formally. Progate does a good job teaching CSS.
- I enjoyed having the Expected result window below the ‘Your Response’ window.
- I liked the easy access to the slides once I figured out how to move efficiently between the exercises and the slides.
- I never studied Node.js before. I run both Node.js and Express on my server. Progate got me curious on Node.js frameworks, such as Nest.js, now.
- The storytelling together with the lessons makes learning to program fun.
What I did not like
There were few things I disliked about Progate.
- The exercises did not recognize more than one answer. That irritated me in the beginning, but I understood. For beginners, this is a good approach. I recommend adding a comments section for discussions. I do recommend adding a comments section for discussions.
- Lack of quizzes. I really like that component in Code Academy.
- Lack of an online community. Progate can be a great way to network with other potential new programmers. Could be a great way to open Japan up to new coders.
Overall, I really enjoyed studying the Web Development Course (Node.js) with Progate. It is a great edtech site for those interesting in learning programming languages. Great for general brushing up for people like me.
Yes, Progate would work well in any ICT program with schools. Especially in first year high school programs. Before my one month subscription ends, I would try the Java course. Currently, there are very few Java courses catered to high school students available.
Sadly, I only needed Progate for that one course. I hope they can expand to other new languages. Possibly even offer courses in Jamstack, Tailwind CSS and headless CMSs. There are huge of opportunities they can follow.
If you want to learn a programming language, try out Progate!