Software

How Google's Grasshopper app can help professionals learn to code for free

Google wants to help fill the developer talent gap by teaching adults JavaScript through quick lessons and games on their phones.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Grasshopper is a free app created by Google that teaches adults how to code JavaScript on their phones.
  • Grasshopper is available for iOS and Android.

This week, Google released a free app called Grasshopper that teaches adults how to code JavaScript on their phones.

With an industry-wide shortage of developer talent, a number of coding bootcamps and other programs have sprung up in recent years to fill skills gaps. Grasshopper—created by coders from Google's workshop for experimental products, Area 120—could be a user-friendly way to encourage more professionals to pick up coding skills that their organizations may need, or set them up for a different career altogether.

"Coding is becoming such an essential skill, and we want to make it possible for everyone to learn even when life gets busy," according to the app's website. "We made Grasshopper to help folks like you get into coding in a fun and easy way. And we put Grasshopper on a phone so you can turn your commute or waiting in line into a learning moment."

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Grasshopper's courses take the form of quick lessons and games on your phone that teach adults to write real JavaScript, which is used by more than 70% of professional developers, according to Stack Overflow. Users move through progressively harder levels, and get real-time feedback. Grasshopper takes a similar form to apps like Duolingo that teach foreign languages.

The app covers the fundamentals of coding, including calling functions, variables, strings, loops, arrays, conditionals, operators, and objects. Users also learn how to draw shapes using the D3 library, define functions, make callback functions, and create animations. The creators also plan to add a new course as well as additional foundational content.

"By the end of using Grasshopper's current curriculum, you should be familiar with core programming concepts and feel confident playing around within this playground to build interactive animations," according to the website.

After mastering the basics on Grasshopper, a professional can move on to more complex coding lessons from other providers.

The app is English language only at this time, and is available on iOS and Android.

Also see

grasshopper.jpg
Image: Grasshopper

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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