This week General Assembly launched a new website called Dash that aims to help people learn how to code.

General Assembly, an educational body founded in New York in 2011, charges £3,000 for some of its 2-3 month coding courses. However, it claims that the free tutorials offered through Dash are technical enough to help people build personal websites, blog themes, small business websites and even a CSS robot.

Dash is delivered through the user's internet browser and aims to help users learn CSS, JavaScript and HTML through four projects of increasing difficulty that are designed to be similar to the tasks undertaken by real-life coders and developers. 

The coding platform also includes an element of gamification so that users are awarded skill points for successfully completing checkpoints in each lesson.

General Assembly has also said that some of its instructors will be on standby to review the user's code or provide feedback on their progress. 

By the end of the Dash course, users should have three mini-sites up and running under their name.

Interested users can sign up for the service using their Twitter account or email, but not Facebook.

Dash has been in development since February 2013 and has been in private beta since April. It was originally created as an internal tool for General Assembly and used as a warm-up program for students taking General Assembly’s full-time Front End Web Development course.

While Dash teaches HTML, CSS, and Javascript, there are other free platforms, such as Codecademy, that go deeper and offer tutorials on languages like PHP, Ruby, Python, and jQuery.

Initiatives such as Dash and Codecademy are being launched at a time when there are thousands of jobs on offer in UK tech start-ups. According to a report by Silicon Milkroundabout there were 4,753 positions on offer in technology start-ups across the UK last month, 44 percent more than September last year. 

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