Codecademy Review – Can It Teach You How To Code Like A Pro?

by | Oct 6, 2020

Learning any new language is hard—but how do you learn one that was made for machines? Coding is the language of technology, what lies behind websites, apps, and features. It’s the language of the future too, as technology jobs are growing exponentially. But how do you learn a language you can’t speak?

If technology and development jobs are the jobs of the future, how can you dive into this market? Coding has a reputation for being difficult—how can you learn to code as a beginner? While some colleges offer courses, and there are videos floating about the internet, you need somewhere reliable.

Codecademy seeks to be a reliable place to learn how to code well, and use those skills in the real world. In this review, we’ll see how well it lives up to those expectations. Let’s get started with this ultimate review of Codecademy!

What Is Codecademy?

In 2011 Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski launched a start up to “rethink education from the bottom up.” While the site originally offered only free courses, over the years Codecademy has evolved to include paid plans which include the majority of their courses. This education company is based out of New York, and now has over 45 million users. While Codecademy has some courses in computer science and other general technology subjects, their main focus and emphasis is on coding—and they offer 14 different languages, from HTLM and CSS to C++ and JavaScript.

Codecademy Main Page

How Codecademy Works

Codecademy wastes no time and isn’t picky—you can create a free account on Codecademy right away using your email, Facebook account, Google account, or even LinkedIn or GitHub profile. Once there, you can have Codecademy give you custom recommendation, or browse through their courses on your own. It will ask what brought you to Codecademy (wanting to learn how to code yourself, or simply know enough about tech to communicate with the engineers) several topics that you’re interested in, and your learning pace. It then compiles all this information to offer you several courses you may be interested, that you can start right away.

Codecademy Recommendation

If you decide you want to be independent and machete your own path, you can browse categories for yourself. There you can see their career paths—larger subjects such Code Foundations or Web Development, that combine many courses together to give you a full understanding of the subject. However, these Paths are only available for Pro subscriptions.

Codecademy Career

There are Skills Learning paths as well, that teach you specific technical skills, such as analyzing data with a specific system, or creating android apps with Java. Just as with Career Paths, these compilation of courses takes you from beginner to expert, and you’ll create projects for your portfolio. However, once again, this aspect is only available for Pro Subscriptions.

Codecademy Skills

However, what Codecademy is most known for is its coding languages: and it offers over 14. From front-end scripts like HTLM, CSS, and JavaScript to back-end ones, there are enough languages there to make any coder feel like he’s sitting in the middle of the Library of Alexandria. 

Codecademy Languages

For each language you choose to learn, you’ll be brought to a page with many resources. For each topic, you’ll see a layout with a quick run-down of the language, a video introducing the topic and what working in that particular field looks like, and articles for you to read. You can also take a quick “programing personality quiz” to see where to start. 

Codecademy Course Page

For each individual course in a topic, whether that’s learning a specific language or building a website, you’ll be able to see a page with all of the information you’ll need. You can see how many students have taken a course, how long it’s expected for you to complete it, and prerequisites, and what skills you’ll cover. You can scroll through the syllabus, to see each individual lesson—or see what real-world projects you’ll make, whether it’s a blog or table or graph.

Codecademy Course Start

To begin a course, simply click “start,” and you’ll be instantly whisked into Codecademy’s personal IDE—Integrated Development Environment—that is built right into your browser. While other online learning sites teach through videos, Codecademy focuses on text-based tutorial, which sit in the left box, while the other two boxes are for you to input code and instantly see the output.

Codecademy Lesson

Each lesson covers a set of ideas, whether that be variables, data types, or formatting. Since the coding environment is built-in, you won’t need to go through the hassle of uploading one onto your device—but it also means you can mainly use Codecademy solely on your computer.

After you complete each course, you are awarded badges—and for Pro Subscriptions, you can earn certificates after you finish all the lessons, projects, quizzes, and articles.

Pro has some other features as well. Costing $19.99 a month, it allows you access to both the Careers and Skills paths, along with other real-world projects for you to add to your portfolio. Pro users also have access to peer-to-peer review on their projects and code, along with mentor support. 

Codecademy Pro Pricing
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Things To Consider With Codecademy

There are some bugs you should watch out for when using Codecademy. Codecademy claims to be the perfect coding platform for everyone—but in reality, it is geared more towards beginners. While they do have many courses (14 languages is no small feat!), the lessons can be more general than comprehensive. It’s a good place to get a small glimpse of coding, but not to get the whole breadth of the scene.

With that, there have been complaints that the free courses’ one-size-fits-all format hurts both beginners and experts. Some lessons will labor over very basic skills, so experts will want to simply skip; while the very next lesson will be an advanced concept, which will frustrate beginners.

There’s also the “training wheels problem” that Codecademy faces. Since Codecademy has a built-in in-program browser coding environment, it’s easy for students to jump in right away. This saves you the hassle of setting up an IDE—Integrated Development Environment, which is different for almost every coding language, and involves a lot of special uploading to your computer. However, because you didn’t have to set that up yourself, you won’t know how to in the future—and in setting up the IDE, you often get a better picture of how the code actually works and what it does. Codecademy’s set up does make it simpler to start—but it can make it a bumpy transition whenever you begin using coding in the real world.

Is Codecademy Reliable?

Codecademy is legitimate company—in fact, both of the co-founders were featured on Forbes “30 under 30” in 2013. The company is seen as reliable enough to be used by employees of Pinterest and NASA—though simply because employees have used it does not make that an approval by the company. However, Codecademy has partnered with large companies before. Recently they worked with Amazon to make a course on creating apps for Alexa.

Codecademy Companies

The content Codecademy teaches is reliable as well. They often release new courses and update their content to ensure it reflects the most recent software. Though the material may not always be completely comprehensive, it is still correct.

Codecademy Catalog

As far as customer service, Codecademy has a help page with many of the most common questions, as well as a place to submit a request if you need specific help. There’s no email or phone number offered for customer service.

Codecademy’s site is sometimes unreliable though—because of the large amounts of input and output when coding, pages lag quite a bit. Users have also complained about the community not loading—an important point when one of the main advertisements about Codecademy’s premium subscription is getting in-community networking.

Is Codecademy Worth The Price?

For the free subscription, Codecademy is assuredly worth the price—all you’re charged is your time. While Codecademy used to be based solely on free classes, the majority of them have now shifted into the paid subscription space. You can still learn from the free courses though!

Codecademy’s Pro subscription costs $19.99 per moth—the average for online learning sites.  This gives you access to real world projects you can include in your portfolio (like building a snazzy website for yourself), as well as step-by-step learning paths, and hints when you get stuck in your coding. Pro also features peer-to-peer reviews, and mentor support.

Is Codecademy Worth The Price

The Pro Subscription is a great way to jump into coding if you’re just beginning, or if you need to blow the dust off an older coding language you used to know. However, if you want a comprehensive understanding, or want to become an expert, then other sites are likely a better fit.

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Codecademy Alternatives

Codecademy VS PluralSight

PluralSight Logo

PluralSight works in the same tech-niche that Codecademy is in—but rather than simply focusing on the language, PluralSight focuses on the whole realm. Partnering with several large companies in the Silicon Valley, PluralSight offers courses on coding, but also on AI, Cybersecurity, and Cloud Computing, among others. PluralSight also has several tools that make it shine—Skills IQ and Roles IQ, short tests that help you see what you still need to learn, and your progress toward your goals. As opposed to Codecademy’s tutorials, PluralSight offers its courses through videos, a great benefit to more auditory learners. Their site is more professional and polished too—though all the business jargon that can confuse beginners.

However, Pluralsight does cost more: $29.99 a month. It also is focused less on coding, so it may not have the specific lessons that Codecademy offers. And if Codecademy leans more towards beginners, Pluralsight tilts more towards advanced users—to the point where absolute novices may feel like they have to scramble to scale that slope. You’ll have to pay more for interactive courses as well, ones that allow you to code alongside the lesson, which is how all of Codecademy’s lessons are already set up.

Codecademy Vs LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning Logo

LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda) is another online education program, that has an even larger focus of technology and business. Even with this larger focus, it still boasts over 600 coding courses. With every course you complete, you earn certificates that are displayed on your LinkedIn profile, instantly accessible for employers to see. They are video-based as well, and offer a large community for users to build relationships with, as well as helpful tips like Monday Productivity Tips, which will help you spend less time on the community and more time learning. 

However, coding isn’t LinkedIn Learning’s niche—so its offerings may not be as strong. It also costs more than Codecademy, $29.99 a month. However, you may be able to access LinkedIn Learning courses for free through some libraries and colleges. Check out the full LinkedIn Learning review to learn more.

Conclusion: Codecademy

Coding can be hard—so you need a reputable place to learn it. Codecademy is a great place to get your feet wet, learning the general principles and whether or not you actually want to swim—but once you decide, there’s other places to dive much deeper into your particular coding language. The built-in coding environment is nice, though it can lead to some training wheel side effects, but it makes learning simple. Codecademy is a clear-cut, no unnecessary bells or whistles, way to start learning how to code, and start your journey into a technology career.

Andrew Green

Andrew is a successful entrepreneur and lifelong learner. Throughout his career, he has watched hundreds of online courses that have allowed him to achieve success in highly competitive fields such as online marketing, investing, and sales. Andrew is committed to expanding his knowledge and expertise and he reviews the premium courses he watches on his online blog.
Overall Rating: 3.68 out of 5

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