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How Contributing to Codecademy Docs Makes You Better at Coding

06/21/2023
4 minutes

Learning how to code doesn’t stop once you complete a course or hit your weekly learning target. From practice projects to coding influencers on social media, there are tons of creative ways to keep enhancing and understanding the skills you pick up in our courses.

One free resource that you should check out is Docs, our community-driven resource for coding documentation. Docs is an open-contribution resource that lives on GitHub, so anyone can contribute to it, suggest edits if they spot an error, and access the entries. For lots of learners, Docs is their entry into the world of open-source software

Learners like you turn to Docs when they need to reference a coding term or find specific syntax, so contributing Docs entries is a way to pay it forward and help other aspiring devs. A delightful bonus? You’ll be improving your own coding skills at the same time. Here are a handful of ways that getting involved with Docs can make you a better programmer, collaborator, and Codecademy community member. 

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Get expert feedback

Here’s what makes Docs reliable: Every Docs entry is reviewed by members of the Codecademy team, so you can trust that the concepts and explanations are legit and accurate. Rather than asking an AI chatbot to explain JavaScript syntax to you, or going down a Google rabbithole just to find a definition, you can check the thousands of Docs entries and quickly find an expert-vetted answer. (And BTW, you can rest assured that none of the Docs entries are AI-generated; that’s against our plagiarism policy.) 

As a contributor, Docs is a free way to have your code reviewed by a real live human expert who really knows their stuff. Docs maintainers check entries for things like technical accuracy, formatting standards, typos or bugs, and plagiarism. Their feedback can help you understand where you made mistakes, challenge you to re-think certain areas, and motivate you to keep learning and contributing. 

Having another person review your code and knowing how to incorporate feedback is a big part of being a developer — and getting an experienced programmer to check your work is priceless. If you plan to add your Docs contributions to your technical portfolio [link to other blog], you’ll stand out for having detailed, error-free entries to your name. 

Master GitHub and Git

The Docs repo lives on GitHub, so while you’re creating useful content for your fellow code enthusiasts, you’re also getting valuable experience with the wildly popular online development platform and its version control system, Git. Whether you’ve recently landed an entry-level job on a tech team, or you just want to contribute to open-source projects for fun, there’s a very good chance you’ll need to collaborate and work on GitHub. Docs is a welcoming space where you can practice using Git commands and get oriented in GitHub.

Our free course Learn Git & GitHub will walk you through everything you need to know about using the platform, and we also have lots of free courses that cover specific GitHub concepts, like Learn GitHub: Best Practices and Learn Git: Introduction.

Learn by teaching

It’s often said that teaching someone else to do something is one of the best ways to learn. Think about it: Putting yourself in a beginner’s shoes, communicating instructions in your own words, and demonstrating a skill further enhances your understanding of a topic. You can reinforce the coding concepts that you’re learning in our courses by writing your own explanations in Docs. For example, say you’re learning Kotlin: You could write new Kotlin Docs entries and essentially use Docs as a note-taking tool.

Everyone learns differently, and the Docs that you write could help your fellow learners understand complicated ideas and techniques. In many of our top courses, you can hover over key terms and read through descriptions that are sourced right from Docs. This helps quickly refresh your memory as you’re learning, and enables you to check out more detailed explanations on Docs if you want to dig deeper. 

Easily revisit concepts

It’s a common misconception that developers memorize everything there is to know about coding — even devs with decades of experience look things up constantly. In fact, the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey found that most professional developers spend 30-60 minutes a day searching for answers and solutions to problems. 

No matter where you are in your coding journey, you can bookmark Docs and continue to reference it as you learn new languages or work on more advanced projects. Using Docs is definitely not a crutch or a cheat, it’s a way to be a resourceful and more efficient developer. 

Want to learn more about how Docs can boost your potential as a developer? Read this blog about [link to other blog] how to use Docs in your resume and job search, and meet the Docs contributors in our Code Crew of super users. Then start exploring the Docs contributor guide to get started.

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