Frequently asked questions

Can I enrol...

Can I enrol if I'm not a school student or teacher?

Yes, we have lots of professionals developing their skills using our courses, code gyms and short activities. Some of the competitions are school-only, but the rest of the material is available to you.

Can I enrol in a competition if I'm not in secondary school yet?

Yes. Every year we have some students from primary school (Years 5 and 6) participate in the Challenge and Code Comp. You do have to be a school student or teacher, though so if you're currently at university or a professional learner, this isn't the competition for you. There are others coming soon, though!

Can I enrol in more than one stream of a competition?

Yes, you can enrol in any subset of the available streams. You can also buy a year's subscription to Grok Learning which includes access to all courses and all streams of our competitions.

I have a Python question...

Which version of Python do you teach?

Grok teaches Python using Python 3. Python 2 programs will be marked as incorrect by the marking system. If you want to install Python on your computer, we recommend you install Python 3.5 from the Python website.

What is this Python you speak of?

Python is a programming language developed by Guido van Rossum in the early 90's. The Python website tells the whole story. Python is named after “Monty Python's Flying Circus”' and there are frequent (and gratuitous) references to Monty Python skits in the Python manuals.

Python is an interpreted language which means a separate program, the Python interpreter is required to read and then run Python programs. Our Getting Started Guide leads you through installing the Python interpreter for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X and running your first Python program. Solving the first challenge isn't much harder than that!

Why Python? (and not VB, C++, Java, ...)

Python strikes the right balance between simplicity and power. Python is an excellent first programming language to learn yet is powerful enough to build industrial strength applications, for example, Google and Industrial Light and Magic uses Python extensively.

Python is a small language with very simple and clean syntax which encourages good coding habits. Programs can be run interactively by the interpreter enabling experimentation and making visualisation and debugging simpler. The way to answer a question about Python is to try typing it in!

Python programs can be run on any computer with the interpreter installed. Both the interpreter and an extensive standard library of code are freely available from the Python website and can be freely distributed. Python's documentation is excellent and there are many intro and advanced Python books now available, with a large and helpful community of Python programmers on the web. Most importantly, Python programming is fun! because Python lets you write the programs you want to write. You can build really interesting software in very a small number of lines of code.

What extra Python libraries do you support?

We currently have support for numpy, scipy and matplotlib (graphs in the browser).

Other questions

What other languages do you support?

As well as Python, we currently have courses and competitions teaching Blockly, a visual drag-and-drop programming language, HTML and CSS. Our platform also supports a number of other languages including but not limited to Java 8, PostgreSQL, JavaScript and MATLAB.

What browsers do you support?

We support recent versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, Safari version 6.2 or greater, recent versions of Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Internet Explorer version 10 or greater.