By Kyle Gingrich
Fall must be the time for releasing cool new products with “X” in their name. Apple launched the iPhoneX with innovative new features like facial recognition for logging in and A11 Bionic augmented reality capability taking the apps experience to the next level, while here at Skillsoft we recently launched CodeX, our groundbreaking Virtual Coding Practice Labs giving developers the ability learn, practice and validate their coding skills in one seamless learning experience.
As a global leader corporate learning, Skillsoft strives to provide solutions that drive results, to develop skilled IT professionals quickly and effectively, thereby facilitating immediate business impact. Which is exactly what CodeX does – it gives developers hands-on coding practice that is contextual, just like they’d code at their job, so they not only learn how to code but more importantly, how to utilize development tools.
How does Skillsoft CodeX offer this unique learning opportunity?
Currently, when someone wants to develop and compile code to test their abilities the process goes something like this: code and compile, receive feedback, rinse and repeat. Simple yes, but there’s a fundamental flaw in starting in the middle of learning, and that’s context, or rather the lack thereof. When learning a new development skill, the environment must be part of the learning for the learner to become truly proficient in that skill. In coding, to create this context, developers need access to live actual Integrated Development Environments (IDE’s) which provide the learners access to all tools bars, features and functions they’ll be using daily as part of their job. Unfortunately, in most learning environments, this important element – the IDE – is missing, or not part of the learning at all. Which means that when the developer is placed in an actual work environment, they’re not job ready.
What does not job ready mean?
When a developer walks into work, sits down and boots up their computer, do they start to develop in a code compiler? No, they start in an actual IDE.
So why would you learn to code in anything other than the real thing?
Skillsoft CodeX is the real thing; it allows individuals to not only to write and compile their code to get instant feedback, but it comes loaded with exercises with lab guides for step-by-step instruction, furthermore, in some instances, there is even embedded instructional video content to further enhance the learning.
What’s even cooler?
What makes CodeX even more valuable is that it can unlock your coding prowess. Being a developer is more than simply learning something and repeating it over and over again, no, being a developer is being an artist, someone working with code as their medium. Since the IDE is always available to them as part of having the CodeX solution, they can use the sandbox capability to keep practicing and improving their coding skills. As developers work through actual projects, they can use the environment anytime and as often as needed to get the desired results. Then they can simply copy and paste the code from the practice environment into a working project without any risk, or concern that bad code might affect the bigger project.
Why is all of this important?
Skillsoft aims to equip learners with effective training tools to develop skills and ensure they are proficient at their job. In other words, our motivation is the same reason people seek training in the first place. Unfortunately, while learners may pursue training, not all solutions are created equal or focus on job readiness. There are plenty of examples of IT training alternatives that are patched together offerings, giving learners a lot of bells and whistles but a disruptive and disjointed learning experience. Learners jump in and out of various applications with videos in one place, assessment in another and practice exercises somewhere else. Whew, I just lost track of what I was describing, how must the learner feel? It is hardly surprising then that learners are taking longer to get results?
Who will CodeX benefit?
Despite some preconceived ideas that only newbies need training, conversations with our customers reinforce just how valuable and necessary training is for everyone, regardless of experience level. Let’s face it, the frequency with which the integrated development environments themselves change means, there’s always something new to learn. Being a developer is a never-ending story, and training is what keeps one relevant and interesting.
Utilizing challenging exercises with embedded instructional videos, CodeX ensures developers can put their knowledge into action to create and validate their coding skills to become coding ninjas.
Kyle Gingrich is the VP of IT and Certification at Skillsoft.