My line of work is copywriting and besides the basic knowledge of things like WordPress, I was never a programming buff. This doesn’t mean I was never interested, I just always felt I lack the talent. Recently, I had some free time and decided why not learn some basic Java coding. I always try to improve myself as you never know what the next job opportunity will be. The main problem for me is the fact I don’t really have much time to learn all the ups and downs of Java. I picture myself more as a casual learner that can use the extra knowledge for specific situations. Oh, and I also don’t want to spend too much money.
Trying to find a simple crash course, I stumbled upon Java learning apps. This caught my attention especially when I stumbled upon a useful list of top 10 Java coding apps. The reason I liked this list is it offers everything you need to make a quick decision. If you want to check it out, I’ll share the link.
The list definitely made my job of deciding which apps to test a lot easier, so I finally settled upon 3 apps and decided to share my thoughts.
Enki – User Rating: 4.6, Downloads: 500K+
Although not the first one I tried, Enki is the “least known” app on my list that I feel deserves to be mentioned. The main thing I like about this app is the way it approaches teaching. The UI is nice and simple, the lessons are snappy and on the point and everything is coated in this nice relaxed experience. This makes it perfect for anyone who knows absolutely nothing about Java coding as it doesn’t rush you but allows you to learn at your own pace. I also want to mention you can learn other languages like Python for example.
The main thing I didn’t like about Enki is the way lessons are sorted. Since it has courses both for beginners and advanced learners, you might end up biting more than you can chew without even knowing. This results in wasted time, so my only complaint is to maybe sort lessons so it’s easier for users to figure out if they are ready for the next lesson.
Pros: Great UI, great learning features
Cons: Lessons should be better organized by difficulty
Overall: A good app for learning programming that could be even better
SoloLearn – User Rating: 4.8, Downloads: 1M+
I no longer remember when was the first time I heard about gamification, but I know it’s becoming the new craze in the startup/app world. SoloLearn is one of the “gamified” apps and I got to say, it did a pretty good job. You learn Java by basically playing games. Well, you’re answering questions and taking lessons, but the fact you get experience and level up make it more fun. You know as a kid when playing games you’d always jump with joy whenever beating a powerful opponent? This provides the same rush and more importantly, motivation to keep on going. So definitely try this one if you’re one of the people that needs that extra push.
Now, here’s the No 1 complaint every app probably gets – ads. Yes, I do realize why ads are here, but I don’t know. I guess I find them less annoying when playing games than when I’m actually trying to learn something. I will say I’m nitpicking here by trying to find a flaw, so I’ll make it clear by saying SoloLearn is a great app. I mean, I don’t have any other complaint than the miss-placed ads.
Pros: Gaming approach to learning, well-polished learning features
Cons: Ads could be better placed so they don’t interrupt learning
Overall: An all-around great Java learning app for beginners who need extra motivation
Udacity – User Rating: 4.4, Downloads: 1M+
Let me say Udacity isn’t a learning platform focusing strictly on coding. You can learn anything here and this might be a bit off-putting if you’re looking for a coding oriented learning app. But let me give my reasons why I decided to include the app in this article. Besides having tons of great courses, the great thing about Udacity, in my opinion, are snappy lessons. Some videos last not more than a minute, yet they still manage you share a helpful piece of knowledge. But the main feature that made me love this app is practicality. Besides getting overloaded with technicalities, you can also learn how to solve specific problems you might face when doing your first job like Java update or download. Basically, it sort of prepares you for the obstacles you’re likely to face in the future.
So I don’t just praise the app, I will say the thing that bugged me a bit was the interface. It’s not bad, but I did find it hard to type all the coding-specific characters and felt I just have to take a break.
Pros: Quick & informative lessons, unique problem-solving tips
Cons: UI needs some time to get used to if learning programming
Overall: A novelty app with features that aren’t entirely focused on programming
Finally, I’d like to say that throughout my experience with apps, the general complaint I had was of a technical nature and that’s my phone. Because of the way programming works, it’s definitely easier to learn it on a desktop or laptop. Nonetheless, if you want to brush up on your Java knowledge, the apps can definitely come in handy.