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Udemy Courses Need More Exercises

Programmer, humorist. Ruby on Rails padawan. Building signalfive, a privacy conscious ad-free social platform.
Updated on ・3 min read

Udemy is an awesome platform for learning programming languages. I've bought to date 26 courses, mostly programming ones. (I got stuck in Udemy Course Hell for a bit.)

Before I go on, this is just my opinion, and I don't mean to say any particular instructor is bad. There are a lot of great instructors on Udemy, and know their stuff, and the two examples I used were the two extreme ones I could find out of the bunch of courses I own.

When learning JavaScript, I got stuck in a spot where I could not seem to advance past a certain point. What I failed to realize is that I needed more practice that I wasn't getting from the courses I had purchased. To be clear it wasn't that I didn't understand the material, or the concepts. I just couldn't write the code.

Most people will say "build a project on your own". The issue is, (in my opinion of course) that without knowing the basics, being able to WRITE the basics, what I needed was cold hard practice. Unfortunately, there's hardly any practice to be found in most Udemy courses.

The Udemy platform has a way for instructors to write exercises, set certain parameters for passing, and for students to write actual code and have it checked. I saw this for the first time in Tim Buchalka's "Java Programming Master Class for Developers". It is chock full of exercises.

To compare: Colt Steele's new Javascript Bootcamp course for 2020 contains just 4 exercises in the entire "beginner" Javascript portion. The videos in my opinion are harder to follow along with due to how they are shot. A lot of them are not even code-along videos, and the code instantly appears because it's prewritten. This course seems built to be a reference. Which is fine, but I wouldn't say it is any kind of a bootcamp course if it doesn't provide any practice. For a brand new person who is trying to figure out what to do, they are going to (most likely) get stuck when it comes to writing actual code.

In contrast, Tim Buchalca's Java Master Class has 13 coding exercises. In just one section. Each one so far has taken me anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete, a couple I worked on over a few 2 hour sessions. He takes whatever concept is being worked on, and makes you write a whole bunch of them. over and over.

Here's just one example of a exercise from Tim's course:

-using the for statement, call the calculateInterest method with
the amount of 10000 with an interestRate of 2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8
and print the results to the console window.

-How would you modify the for loop above to do the same thing as
shown but to start from 8% and work back to 2%

-Create a for statement using any range of numbers
-Determine if the number is a prime number using the isPrime method
-if it is a prime number, print it out AND increment a count of the
number of prime numbers found
-if that count is 3 exit the for loop
-hint: Use the break; statement to exit

This is one of the exercises that doesn't get checked by Udemy's system.

A student should be able to write basic code with whatever concepts he's learning, even if it is just filling a method with if/else statements.

The whole point of learning to code is writing lots of it. I think most of the Udemy instructors are dropping the ball by not giving what they promise students - "the last course/only course you will ever need" by not giving them plenty of opportunities for practice.

But that's just my take. If you know of any other courses that provide lots of coding practice outside of building projects, please post them in the comments, I'd love to check them out. Thanks for reading.

Discussion (3)

jrsofty profile image
Jason Reed

Remember that Udemy is not the only resource for learning. I ordered books! For a lot of beginner questions you can find online by searching. "How do I do X in Java". Then look at the code and try to understand it. Then get it to work on your system. Debug through the code to see what happens with the variables and objects. These are some of the things I used to learn. Naturally the way I learn isn't for everyone, but if it helps you give it a try.

andevr profile image
drew Author

I definitely agree with that! I have several javascript books now. Searching for a good Java one now.

andevr profile image
drew Author

Any recommendations for good java books?