NY Mayor takes up coding

The Mayor of New York has announced an unlikely New Year’s resolution: he’s going to take up computer coding.

In an automated post, Michael Bloomberg said on his Twitter account that “My New Year’s resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012.” Whether Bloomberg is aware that “he” has made this tweet remains to be seen, though he’s talked big on tech issues in the past.

The tweet is a reference to a website that allows visitors to learn how to code through a series of free interactive lessons. At the moment there are three courses, covering getting started with programming, a quick start guide for Javascript, and how to define functions in Javascript. As well as carrying out lessons online, there’s a weekly e-mail option with coding exercises.

As is common with online activities today, there are a series of badges and trophies to be earned as you progress through the course, each of which can be posted to Facebook or Twitter to promote the activity and annoy your friends and followers.

That promotion can work though: shortly after Bloomberg’s original tweet, the hashtag #codeyear began trending in New York City. (That doesn’t mean it was among the most discussed topics, but rather was a topic that saw a rapid growth in discussion.) An estimated 200,000 people have signed up and made a similar resolution to Bloomberg.

The publicity for the courses also looks set to bring the creators some business. Yesterday, they’ve been approached to develop custom courses for companies that want staff without technical expertise to learn specific programming languages.

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