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So from what I understand Codecademy's long term monetization plans seem to be focused on being a middle man between new programmers and companies looking to hire [1].

But I'm curious how this is actually achieved. The key in such a system would be keeping users engaged in the site from the time they first start learning to the point that they are ready and qualified to get their first job. This is likely six months to a year of training (at the low end) and it can't just be 1)learn the basics of javascript 2)learn the basics of html css 3)learn the basics of python.

New programmers with an eye for getting to their first programming job asap are better off building a portfolio that shows that they can work in the full stack and get stuff done. Or alternatively with in the confines of Codecademy if you're not going to have a deep portfolio, showing a mastery of the full stack with deep knowledge or maybe one platform (say deep understanding of javascript and the fundamentals of CS).

I'm curious how Codecademy plans to bridge this divid or if they have other plans in mind (which they probably aren't as willing to share with the masses)

[1] http://www.quora.com/How-will-Codecademy-monetize

Have you looked at the Code Year track? The last challenge before the start of the Python course and following a flurry of jQuery challenges is a project aimed at demonstrating programming prowess attained up until that point [1]. It seems like the perfect place to start to "build a portfolio" as you say. It's also at a great point in the track since people should be very comfortable with a stack like html/css, js, jQuery.

It's easy for us experienced folk to say "forget that rubbish, build a portfolio" but that argument quickly falls apart in the context of teaching people who have no idea what programming even is and who want to explore it more. As much as I would love to have sat down at the age of 14, looked at a computer, and started pumping out concurrent, distributed Ruby web servers, it doesn't happen that way. You really do have to start from the basics, poking and prodding, until you can actually build anything worthwhile.

[1] http://www.codecademy.com/courses/web-beginner-en-R7w8I/0?cu...

I haven't and that is great to know. I guess that was part of my question: How does Codecademy attack the balance that hiring companies want to see when it comes to technical knowledge and experience building real things.

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