Code WestCo

General Information
Wednesdays at 6pm
CMU Maverick Innovation Center
Parking next to the building is free

Goal of the Group
We started this group to be a solution to the frustration of learning programming all on your own. Many of us are self taught developers, which means we went through the painful journey of beating our heads up against complex new topics without the help of fellow students or mentors.

How It Will Look
This is not a class. While we’ll be working through specific tutorials/books/projects etc, it is expected that the bulk of your learning will be done on your own during the week. We’ll be meeting once a week to discuss topics related to what we as a group are learning. We’ll help each other solve problems, collaborate on projects, etc.

Upcoming Topics
On Wednesday January 6, 2016, we’ll be starting our journey by giving an introduction to the Javascript language. During the ensuing 10 weeks, we’ll be laying foundations for full stack web application development utilizing Javascript and the many new technologies that have risen up around it over the last few years like Express, Node, Angular, Express, Mongo, React and more.

Getting the Most Out of the Group
There are a few skills you should develop prior to starting in January, namely HTML and CSS. These are the building blocks of any website or web application and you really shouldn’t move ahead to any scripting until you have a good grasp of how to build and style a web page.

We recommend creating an account on Free Code Camp and working through their HTML and CSS path This is one of our favorites. It’s free and offers fantastic interactive tutorials that’ll have you feeling competent in HTML and CSS pretty quickly.

There are a ton of other great resources as well, and we suggest going through a couple different tutorials. Even if you’re covering the exact same information each time, having that information presented in different ways, along with just plain old repetition, will both be helpful in locking in your newly learned skills so you’re confident in your knowledge when the class starts. Here are a few other online guides:


Necessary Tools and Accounts

  • You’ll need a good text editor. It’s hard to beat Sublime Text. It costs $70 for a license, but I’ve used it in trial mode (which offers full functionality) for 2 years without having to pay (Does this make me a bad person?). You just have to put up with the occasional notice telling you to activate. Get it at
  • Stack Overflow is the go to language-independent collaboratively edited question and answer site for programmers. You'll end up using this site alot, trust us. Google any programming question right now and we can almost guarantee one of the top results will be from Stack Overflow. Set up an account at


Other Resources for Learning and Staying Connected

  • You’ll want to create an account on This is our hub for connecting with others within the community and staying up to date on local events related to entrepreneurship, development and design etc.
  • Join the Code West CO Slack group -
  • Practice your newly learned programming skills on CodeWars. As you learn new skills, it’s vital that you imprint them into your skull by practicing them, a lot. CodeWars is the funnest way to do that. Their Slogan? Achieve code mastery through challenge
  • The Dash App from Kapeli allows you to pull all the best documentation on a language into one searchable offline document. It’s only for OSX and iOS though so sorry if you’re not an Apple person