This article appeared originally on I PROGRAMMER

Codecademy the online interactive platform that offers free coding classes has added a Java course to its portfolio.

Java is the language that continues to come top in all the popularity polls as pointed out in Codeacedemy’s announcement of its new course:

Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, serving as the basis for Android development in addition to web content development, and it has long been our top user requested language.

Learn Java is aimed at beginners and is intended to:

get you started with the basics and will also set you up for some of our future courses.

It has four hour-long modules, each of which has to be completed before you move on to the next, clearly indicated by the UI having the to-do lessons dimmed out and disabled.

The first session, Introduction to Java, aims to smoothly introduce the beginner to the language’s fundamental building blocks such as its data types and operators. After this comes a lesson on Conditionals and Control Flow, or in other words how to direct the program’s execution by using statements such as if-then-else and switch. Next Object oriented Java, undertakes the daunting task of trying to walk the beginner through the principles of OOP and putting them into practice in code. Finally a session on Data Structures introduces Arrays and Collections.

Four hours may seem a very short time for a course introducing Java. However, it covers the basics and guides the student in a step by step fashion, positively and firmly holding his hand.

In each step of a Codeacademy course you view instructions on the panel on the left and type into the live coding environment on the right. When you press Run you either see the expected output or an explanatory message asking you to retry. While being a constraint that experienced programmers might find unwelcome since it leaves no room for novel approaches and experimentation, this is a well tested approach that works for complete beginners and gives them a flavor of what s involved in programming.

This Java course expandsbCodeacademy’s language coverage which already includes JavaScript, Python and Ruby. Its provision of beginner’s courses means it is prominently featured on TechPrep, Facebook’s recently launched initiative to encourage more people, in particular among the United States’ black and hispanic communities, to become programmers.

With next month’s Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code 2015 fast approaching this new course seems like a good resource to introduce general principles for programming.

This article appeared originally on I PROGRAMMER