Keeping up with Coding

The best way to get good at programing is to do a lot of it. Things that seem cryptic and confusing at first will start to feel like second nature after a lot of regular practice. Taking one or two CS classes is probably not going to be enough to have things encoded in memory to the point where you can take a long break between classes and not forget what you learned earlier. Whether the break is just for the summer or much longer, it’s a good idea to keep practicing in between classes. Here are some places you can go for some practice problems:

Codecademy – this website has some nice tutorials on a lot of CS related subjects. You can browse their catalog and find tutorials for languages like Java and Python. If you’re worried that you’ve forgotten something or there were topics you aren’t sure you really learned the first time this is a good place to start.

CodingBat – this website contains coding practice problems and was written by an instructor at Stanford. There are problems for Java and for Python.

These are sites accessible for novice programmers who are new to a language or who have had one or two classes. There’s a whole other set of sites you can go to for coding challenges if you’re preparing for job interviews or programming contests.  Here’s a blog post that describes sites by category:

Learn by Doing: The 8 Best Interactive Coding Sites 

If you’re a Colorado College student, I strongly recommend participating in the Coding Club activities. You should also be sure to get on the department mailing list–you do not need to have declared the major to participate in department activities! Talk to the CS Paraprof for more information.

Janet Burge


cropped-JanetWesleyan.jpegI’m an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Colorado College.   My major research area is in Design Rationale – methods for capturing and using the reasons behind decisions made when designing software or any other artifact.  I’m interested in this area because successful software systems often outlast the tenure of their developers, which means critical knowledge can be lost forever if there is no way to retrieve and use it.

I received my PhD from  Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2005. My undergraduate work was performed at Michigan Technological University. Prior to joining Colorado College, I spent two years as an Associate Professor at Wesleyan University, nine years as an Assistant and Associate Professor at Miami University in Oxford Ohio and before that, I worked for over 20 years as a software engineer and AI researcher, which gives me lots of great stories to tell my students.

Recent grants:

NSF, 2009, CAREER: Rationale Capture for High Assurance Systems, $527,864
NSF, 2009 (with P. Anderson, G. Gannod, Miami University, M. Vouk, M. Carter, North Carolina State University), CPATH-2: Incorporating Communication Outcomes into the Computer Science Curriculum, $799,996 ($445,137 Miami)

Contact information: