Startups Aim to Make Coding Fun

By Rachel Metz, Technology Review

For Jacob Arriola, a business development manager for a Spanish media company in Los Angeles, learning to program wasn’t a necessity. But figuring it might help with his job, he started using an online code-tutorial service called Treehouse in January. After three months with the paid service, he’s earned several dozen badges for completing programming quizzes and challenges, and watching coding-related video lessons. Arriola is one of a growing number of non-techies turning to Web-based sites to learn how to code, either for fun or in hopes of advancing their job prospects. And while the basic concept isn’t new, the execution is. The addition of video-game elements like badges and points is helping startups such as Treehouse take off.

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