Learn Programming from Lynda.com

Filed Under: Documentation & Help Manuals, Google, LabVIEW & Toolkits, National Instruments, NI Products, Software & Tools, Technical Communication/Writing, Tutorials/How-Tos
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I just found out that Google has a site license with Lynda.com, which is an online training library of software and programming skills videos. The site contains hundreds of online courses, including Adobe Software, JavaScript, WordPress, HTML, and other web development tools. I’ve been wanting to learn some programming but don’t have the bandwidth to take an actual course in a classroom.

I like how each course on Lynda.com is broken down into chapters and segments, so that each video is about 4-5 minutes. I can easily watch a few videos throughout the day (call it mental break from my work).

I’m looking forward to using the site to learn a few skills, including:

  • Regular Expressions
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • HTML5

I want to create a few tools and scripts to help with the documentation process. When I was working at NI, the technical writers would use LabVIEW to create our own tools to perform various tasks like check broken links, check spelling, validate files, automation, etc. I learned enough LabVIEW to program a few tools too, but now that I’m at Google, I no longer have access to LabVIEW. It has been on my to-do list to learn enough programming to create similar tools and scripts.

Right now, for lack of knowledge/skill in a relevant programming language, I use a simple text editor (TextMate) to create macros containing search/replace syntax (using regular expressions). It works but I’m hoping to create something a little more nifty.

Speaking of programming, there was a promo video this week from code.org about teaching programming in schools. In case you missed the video, here it is below.

 

I learned my first programming language (BASIC) when was eight. In college, I took a programming course (C). When I was the technology coordinator of an international school in Shanghai, I taught Squeak to fifth graders. When I was at NI, I learned to program using LABVIEW. These programming languages aren’t exactly applicable and relevant to what I’d like to do, but learning about them has helped me to think like a programmer. I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve and simplify the documentation process. Hopefully after taking a few courses on Lynda.com, I’ll be able to create an actual program and/or script!

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