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Codecademy Review 2022: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Posted in Review
Codeacademy Review

Codecademy is one of the best interactive learning platforms for students interested in learning to code. Students at Codecademy can learn everything from basic programming and development principles to advanced programming techniques — although, like many online learning platforms, course quality may be variable. 

Instructors

4/5

Courses

5/5

Experience

5/5

Total

4.5/5

At-a-glance:

  • Codecademy focuses primarily on programming, design, development courses, and functional skills to make students better programmers.
  • Codecademy’s interactive platform makes it easy to “experience” programming from the ground up and write code immediately.
  • Codecademy has many free courses to choose from and premium courses for a subscription fee.
  • Rather than looking for the “best” course in a language or discipline, Codecademy gives you one high-quality option.
  • Codecademy certificate value is limited. You’ll demonstrate a course’s value primarily from the work you produce during the course rather than the certification.

Is Codecademy Legit? 

Our Codecademy review will cover everything about Codecademy’s instructors, courses, and learning platform. 

Codecademy screenshot—lesson portal.

What Does Codecademy Offer?

Compared to other online learning marketplaces, Codecademy’s offerings may seem limited. As of 2022, Codecademy has around 1,800 basic and professional courses. Courses either focus on a specific language (JavaScript, Python, or C++) or a specific discipline (web development, data science, or even mathematics).

But while Coursera or Udemy may have thousands upon thousands of classes, Codecademy’s courses are still less variable in quality—each course gives students fundamental, functional skills by the end. Coursera and Udemy let instructors upload their own courses, so you may find 1,000 courses on Full-Stack Development, for instance. Codecademy curates its courses; there is only one high-quality course available.

Codecademy separates its courses into “Free” and “Pro.” Additionally, there are “Career Path” courses that are part of a broader career discipline and “Skill Path” courses that consolidate lessons into a single learning path.

 

Codecademy is known for its free courses, which are a great way to start learning a programming language or computer science discipline.

Some of their most popular courses include

  • Learn JavaScript. A beginner-friendly “language fluency” class with 11 hands-on, interactive coding lessons. 
  • Learn HTML. A fast, easy introduction to the most popular markup language—and the fastest, easiest way to develop websites.
  • Learn Python 2. An in-depth beginner’s class on Python, including a total of 20 lessons and interactive coding projects.

In general, most beginner-level coding courses are available for free. However, intermediate-level coding courses and courses on specific technologies are more likely to be included with the “Pro” subscription.

Being a “Pro” Codecademy class doesn’t necessarily mean the course is better. The “Pro” Codecademy classes tend to be more specific and niche rather than higher in quality.

Some of the most popular Pro Codecademy classes include:

  • Learn Python 3. A beginner-friendly “language fluency” class on the fastest-growing programming language today.
  • Learn the Command Line. A class on using the Command Line in different applications to control your software development process.
  • Learn Git & Github. An introduction to the world’s most popular software repository.

As you can see, these classes aren’t more in-depth. They’re even shorter; Learn the Command Line is a four-lesson course. Codecademy’s primary strategy appears to be to provide extensive, general-purpose courses to the coding community and charge for its more niche content.

Codecademy doesn’t provide anything like degree programs or specializations, but it does bundle some of its courses into a “career path.” Career Path classes include coding challenges, workspaces, portfolio projects, and interview prep. 

Some of the most popular Codecademy Career Paths include

  • Data Science Career Path. Data Science is the fastest growing specialization today. Codecademy’s Data Science Career Path walks you through SQL, Python, and basic Data Science principles.
  • Front-End Engineer Career Path. Learn to design, develop, and program a complete user experience with Codecademy’s Front-End Engineer Career Path, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Back-End Engineer Career Path. Combine with the Front-End Engineer Career Path to learn Full-Stack Development. This career path includes JavaScript, SQL, and other back-end technologies.

These career paths are fairly extensive. However, whether employers will take them seriously is somewhat variable. It’s not difficult to “cheat” your way through a Codecademy career path; the true value is in the portfolio that you produce.

Is Codecademy Accredited?

No. While Codecademy does provide certificates of completion for its Pro courses and career paths, Codecademy itself is not accredited. Codecademy follows the principles of self-paced and self-taught learning: the onus is really on the student to learn and grow as a professional. 

Who is Codecademy For? Is CodeAcademy Any Good?

Codecademy is the best and most straightforward platform for programmers and developers looking to learn new languages. Most other online learning centers have a fairly broad focus; even if they focus on programming and development, they’re spread fairly thin.

Codecademy’s courses, comparatively, are extremely tightly designed. Codecademy covers 15 of the most popular programming languages and most of the popular programming and computer science disciplines.

You can use Codecademy to: 

  • Improve your current career outlook.
  • Learn a new programming language or development technology.
  • Switch disciplines within the computer science field.

Is Codecademy worth it? Most of its free courses are comparable with other premium courses across the web, provided that you can find the language or discipline you need. 

But while most Codecademy reviews give the platform high marks, you should consider other factors—such as employer perception.

 

Do Employers Take Codecademy Seriously?

You likely won’t get a job because you have a shareable certificate from Codecademy. Most Codecademy classes are fairly hands-off from the instructor side; it is a self-paced learning platform. 

However, you will develop portfolio projects through Codecademy, and (ideally) you will be able to practice and answer technical interview questions.

A Codecademy certificate does not necessarily prove your knowledge more than any other online certificate; it’s good to have, but you will need the projects to back it up. 

Boost Employee Retention with Codecademy

Codecademy isn’t just for job seekers. 67% of employers today are experiencing reduced employee retention. According to Codecademy, employers can improve their retention (and morale) through technical skills training. 

How to Sign Up for and Use Codecademy

Codecademy’s courses are entirely self-paced. You choose a course you want to take and sign up for it. Each course consists of individual, bite-sized lessons. You need to complete lessons to continue to advance.

Because these courses are entirely self-paced, they can feel a little lonely. You won’t interact with other students or instructors; you’ll just be programming in a vacuum. However, the lesson system will give you as much help as possible.

Codecademy’s Programming Sandbox

One of the most appealing aspects of Codecademy’s lessons is its programming sandbox. Each Codecademy lesson focuses on delivering actionable skills in programming. To that end, the course provides a three-panel screen that includes: the lesson, your code, and whether it compiles.

Screenshot of Codecademy’s Introduction to HTML lesson.

The above format is the format of nearly every lesson in Codecademy. To the far left, you will have an explanation of the skills you must learn. In the center, you will write your code. Finally, to the right, you will either correctly or incorrectly compile it.

How to Open a Codecademy Account: Is Codecademy Free?

Most Codecademy courses are completely free. You can sign up using a Google or Facebook account and jump into courses within seconds.

You’ll need a Codecademy Pro subscription for Pro courses. The cost is up to you because these courses are self-paced, and Codecademy provides a monthly subscription plan. 

How Much Does Codecademy Cost? Free, Pro Lite, and Pro

Codecademy offers plans for individuals, students, and businesses. 

For individuals, you can sign up for Pro Lite ($14.99/month) or Pro ($19.99/month). The only difference is whether you get Interview Prep or Career Paths. 

For students, you can sign up for $149.99/year and gain complete access to the entirety of the Codecademy platform.

For businesses, you can sign up for $299.99/year per user to support an entire team or ask for a custom quote for larger enterprises.

Codecademy likely provides some of the best free coding boot camps available, so it isn’t necessarily true that you will need a Pro Lite or Pro subscription. 

Codecademy Refund and Cancellation Policies

You can get the best pricing for Codecademy if you pay the monthly subscription fee annually. However, if you do so, refunds won’t be available. Refunds are not available for any post-trial professional subscription fees. 

While you can cancel your account anytime, you will need to pay for the subscription you signed up for—start with a monthly subscription if you aren’t sure.

Codecademy Pro Lite vs. Codecademy Pro

The only difference between Codecademy Pro Lite and Codecademy Pro is that Codecademy Pro provides career path features and interview support. If you aren’t going down a Codecademy career path, you can get away with using Codecademy Pro Lite.

Can You Really Learn to Code With Codecademy?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about Codecademy. The answer? Different people will learn differently.

Most coding-oriented platforms will direct you to start programming as quickly as possible, and Codecademy is no exception. If you’re the type of person who “learns by doing,” then you’ll start to learn very quickly with Codecademy.

Conversely, if you’re the type of person who absorbs best by watching videos, reading lesson plans, and interacting with an instructor, you won’t learn through Codecademy. Codecademy provides functional knowledge and tries to get you to start programming as quickly as possible.

Codecademy Skill Paths and Codecademy Career Paths

Most Codecademy students will likely take a course or two in their preferred programming language. But Codecademy does provide both “Skill Paths” and “Career Paths.”

“Skill Paths” are collections of lessons: a short selection of curated content. An example is the “Build a Website with HTML, CSS, and Github” skill path, including HTML, CSS, and Github.

The HTML skill path on Codecademy, screenshot.

Skill paths are more in-depth than individual courses, but they don’t include the premium features of career paths—such as interview help or career preparation.

Career paths will give you more direct, industry-related, and actionable knowledge regarding a specific discipline. While Codecademy doesn’t give much direct support for getting a job, it will help you prepare a portfolio and defend your skills.

Codecademy Certificates: Does Codecademy Give Certificates? 

Codecademy does provide certificates upon course completion, but Codecademy certificate value is highly variable. 

As mentioned, you don’t interact with other students or instructors during a Codecademy course, which means that anyone could take that course for you. And unlike other learning marketplaces like Coursera, Codecademy’s courses are generally not provided by notable institutions or instructors.

While you should add Codecademy certificates to your resume (which may very well help), you shouldn’t rely on the value of a Codecademy certificate to get a job. Instead, you should focus on developing your knowledge and skills and creating a portfolio on Github.

Codecademy is the most straightforward method of learning a programming language from start to finish. While Codecademy’s courses are all beginner-level or intermediate-level (you won’t become an expert in a given language), they can take a programmer from knowing nothing to programming within just a few minutes.

Some of the most popular classes include

  • Learn Java. Given its portability and utility, Java remains one of the most popular programming languages in the world. But it’s not easy to learn. Beginners will learn Java throughout 16 classes.
  • Learn SQL. SQL is used with many programming languages to create and interact with databases. Programmers can learn the basics of SQL in just four short lessons.
  • Learn C++. C++ is a robust general-purpose language with a lot of utility. A developer can learn C++ on Codecademy within 13 lessons.
  • Learn CSS. CSS is part of front-end web development. An intermediate-level course, this class will teach the basics of CSS in 8 lessons.
  • Learn C#. C# is ideal for lightweight programming and app development. This in-depth course teaches complete beginners how to program in C# in 20 lessons.

All these courses except for the CSS course are intermediate-level, although (to be honest) the CSS course can also be taken by a beginner. However, it’s also notable that Codecademy’s most popular courses are programming languages—rather than computer science disciplines.

Tips for Finding the Best Courses on Codecademy

Instructors don’t have a lot of presence on Codecademy. Among all the online learning platforms, Codecademy has the most consistent classes—they are all high-quality, interactive courses delivered in bite-sized chunks.

To find the best courses on Codecademy:

  • Determine whether you need an individual course, skill path, or career path.
  • Look through the courses available for that programming language or discipline.
  • Review the materials included in the course.

On Coursera or Udemy, the primary method for finding the best courses is to look at user reviews and star ratings. But Codecademy doesn’t have eighteen courses on Python 2—it has one.

Codecademy: Pros, Cons, and User Reviews

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent platform for learning to program
  • Tightly focused on front-end and back-end development
  • Career paths and pro subscriptions for professional development
  • Completely self-directed
  • Certificates don’t matter much

PCMag rated Codecademy as a 4 out of 5, and Codecademy maintains a TrustPilot rating of 4.2 out of 5 — much higher than most similar platforms. The Codecademy experience is generally tighter and more valuable than most online programming courses, with a single caveat; you won’t get individual or personalized attention.

If you get stuck on a Codecademy course, you can click the “Get Unstuck” button to get to a series of discussion forums. Largely, that’s the only way you’re going to get help. If you’re usually a self-paced learner, this isn’t a problem. If you need to talk to an instructor or are new to IT and programming, you may find the experience overwhelmingly complex.

Alternatives to Codecademy

Coursera, edX, and Udemy are all the most popular alternatives to Codecademy. However, they also have significantly broader approaches. While the others still focus on computer science, they also have classes in other disciplines entirely.

 

Codecademy

Coursera

edX

Udemy

Classes

1,800+

7,000+

3,000+

185,000+

Students

45 million

82 million

110 million

40 million

Cost

$39/month

$39/month

$50 to $300

$12 to $200

File: Coursera.png, Alt: Coursera screenshot. Coursera focuses on a broad range of IT disciplines and programming.

1. Coursera: Certifications and Degree Paths

Coursera provides a great balance of quality vs. quantity. Coursera’s lessons are higher quality than Udemy’s overall. Many are provided by reputable institutions, such as the University of Michigan. 

In fact, you can get a degree from an accredited institution through Coursera (although not all degree paths will be accredited). By that token, Coursera courses and certifications may be more valuable than Codecademy, but Codecademy still provides a more direct method of learning programming languages from start to finish.

File: edX.png, Alt: edX screenshot. edX provides learning content from the best schools in the US.

2. edX: Learning from the Ivy League

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting an Ivy League education, edX is the best solution for you. You will gain access to course material from MIT, Yale, and Harvard.

Like other platforms, you can take a course for free, but you won’t get a certificate unless you pay. Most of the courses are only a few hundred dollars and are provided by extremely reputable, well-known instructors within the field.

File: Udemy.png, Alt: Udemy screenshot. Udemy has the largest variety of courses.

3. Udemy: All the Courses You Could Want

Udemy’s courses are likely the most variable in quality, as Udemy lets any instructor post courses to the marketplace. But at the same time, that means you’ll find more niche information, such as game development, from a specific game developer. Udemy has by far the most extensive array of courses.

Ultimately, Codecademy doesn’t have nearly the selection of the other learning platforms. But it provides value by having highly interactive courses designed to give you actionable, career-related skills.

Conclusion: Is Codecademy Worth It?

In my experience, Codecademy is the best platform for hobbyists and professionals who genuinely want to learn a language from A to Z. It may not have the most valuable certificates or the most engaged instructors. Still, it has a clean, interactive interface that lets you program within just a few minutes. 

Even better, the most popular Codecademy classes are all free. Even though you won't get a certificate for completing the free classes, you can start to build projects and create your portfolio. Just be aware that you may be on your own if you get stuck.

If you liked our Codecademy review, check out our other reviews for learning platforms like Udacity. 

Explore our Udacity Review Today!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Codecademy Any Good?

Codecademy is one of the best online lesson platforms for learning programming languages, design, and development. Through Codecademy, students engage with interactive lesson plans, chart out career paths, and build their programming portfolios.

2. Are Codecademy Courses Worth It?

Not only are most paid, “Pro” Codecademy courses worth it, but the most popular lessons on the platform are available completely free. You can get started with Python, JavaScript, or HTML today without paying anything.

3. Can You Actually Learn to Code with Codecademy?

That depends on you. If you expect instructor-led material or to collaborate with other students, no. If you want to start programming through self-driven coursework, then yes.

4. Is Codecademy Accredited?

Codecademy is not accredited. Although it will provide you with a certificate upon completion (if you have paid for the Pro or Pro Lite subscription), the certificate may have variable value depending on the employer.

5. Is Codecademy Certificate Free?

While you can take most of the popular courses on Codecademy for free, you won’t get a certificate unless you pay for the subscription. Paying will get you a shareable certificate that you can add to your resume.

6. Can You Put Codecademy on Your Resume?

Absolutely. But be aware that some employers may not respect the credential. Because Codecademy is an almost entirely self-managed learning platform, you need to show off your skills to back up your learning. In general, that means building a portfolio or a repository of code on Github.

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye has been a full stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, and The Gamer. View all posts by the Author

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