As technology becomes more and more an essential part of our lives, the prospect of coding has become all the more vital as a skill. Unfortunately, for many, coding is a pretty difficult skill to learn, especially if you aren't learning from a qualified or effective learning platform.
Thankfully, there are options out there that you can use to get your coding education off the ground. Here in this particular article, we'll be going over one such company known as Codecademy.
In this review, we will go over Codecademy and whether or not it is worth investing your time and money into.
Is Codecademy Legit?
When determining whether Codecademy is legitimate or not, one needs to understand exactly what they're asking for a proper answer. As we will touch on more later in this review, while Codecademy has a lot going for it that definitely makes it an authentic platform, there are a few other things that put its “legitimacy” under scrutiny, namely the fact that the platform isn't officially recognized by any other form of higher learning.
What this means is that, unlike other online courses, like edX (our edX Review) or Coursera (Build A Better You In One Year With Coursera Plus), any course certificate of completion you get from the site merely notes that you have a strong understanding of the material and does not automatically guarantee any official position after successfully going through it.
Here, we do not consider this to be necessarily a mark against Codecademy or something that makes the service less legitimate compared to any other learning platform. The fact of the matter is that, while the material itself isn't accredited, the information is not only very much authentic in terms of the quality of the courses but incredibly invaluable as well, acting as a vital method for anyone to get into the coding world at a very beginner-friendly level.
Still, if you are specifically looking for an accredited platform upon completion, it may be worth your time to consider other alternative options.
What Features Do They Provide?
Codecademy, as an online learning platform, is quite impressive in terms of what it offers its students. Many have noted that, across all of its learning services, the quality of the information is quite high, actually surpassing many of the other learning platforms (such as Coursera or edX) despite its considerably smaller and more narrow focus.
Codecademy offers its students a variety of different courses based on either program languages and computer-based learning subjects.
Codecademy has on its platform over 14 different programming languages available. Each is fully fleshed out and in-depth, allowing you to learn as many or as few as you want.
In addition to the 14 different languages, Codecademy also offers 10 different subjects to specialize in. These subjects can be taken in addition to the languages, or separately from them depending on your current skill in coding as well as what you are looking to accomplish.
The subjects include: Web Development, Machine Learning, Data Visualization, Data Science, Code Foundations, Mobile Development, Computer Science, Web Design, Game Development, and Developer Tools
Practical Learning Instructions
Something that is unique to Codecademy, rather than have a number of different video lectures to simulate a classroom environment, the platform instead focuses directly on giving step-by-step practical instructions followed by a window for coding.
While at first, it may seem like a step back for some, by focusing exclusively on the written step-by-step aspect of coding, students are actually able to learn the information at a faster rate due to having no choice but to complete the step they are on before progressing.
Career & Skill Paths
In addition to the numerous languages and subjects available, Codecademy is incredibly beginner-friendly, making things easy for a new beginner to get started in the coding world without feeling too overwhelmed.
One of the ways this is most effectively done is by way of career paths and skill paths. Rather than simply offer an assortment of different and disconnected subjects and languages, by choosing a career or skill path, a student is able to follow a structured curriculum to focus their attention on exactly what to learn and work towards next so that they have the skills needed to help them in their personal or business ventures.
There are 4 different career paths and 13 different skill paths. As a curriculum, these course sets do require a greater time commitment when compared to the more open-ended courses available. They can range, on average, between 6 and 10 weeks from start to completion.
The list includes:
- Computer Science: An introduction into program theory. The Computer Science Career Path teaches students the Python coding language as well as about data structures, command lines, and Git.
- Data Science: The Data Science Career Path helps students gain the skills to query, analyze, and visualize data. They are taught Python as well as SQL coding languages.
- Code Foundations: An ideal start for those completely new to the coding world, the Code Foundations Career Path helps students learn the history of computer science as well as how to apply program coding.
In the Skill Path section, there are 13 different options for you to focus on. Each of these skills will result in your personal ability improving depending on the skill chosen:
- Data using SQL
- Data Using Python
- Data using R
- Financial Data using Python
- Chatbots using Python
- Websites using HTML & CSS with GitHub Pages
- Basic Android Apps using Java
- Machine Learning Models using Python
- Front-End Apps using React
- Video Games using Phaser.js
- Visualize Data Using Python
Codecademy for Business
For those looking to develop and advance their abilities as a designated team, Codecademy has the Codecademy for Business option. This option includes 2 separate plans based on the number of members in a team. These plans offer interactive learning as well as individual guidance as well as certificates upon successful course completions.
The Team Plan is for groups with between 5 and 49 members. It offers unlimited access to all of the platform's content as well as real-world projects that have been specifically designed by expert coding instructors. The plan offers exclusive access to new course content as well as instructional videos that are led by professionals. Those in this plan qualify for weekly progress reports and access to exclusive communities on the site that are separate from the main platform.
The Enterprise Plan is a much larger version of the Team Plan, for groups that have 50 members and more. It offers all of the same features as the Team Plan with numerous additions such as:
- Advanced Reporting and Analytics API
- Dedicated Customer Success Manager
- Custom Learning Paths Tailored to Specific Learner Needs
- And many, many more
Offered as unique bonus challenges for those subscribed to Codecademy Pro (more on that later), the platform has a collection of different projects meant to constantly refine your coding skills. These challenges are entirely separate from the other courses and skills and are meant as fun mental exercises.
These challenges can range from creating a Magic 8 Ball to checking credit cards, building a text adventure game, and even becoming a Pokemon Master. Each uses one of the different coding languages, meaning that the more you know, the more challenges you'll be able to perform.
Not only are many of these challenge projects fun mental games in and of themselves, but, depending on the difficulty, some may even be worthy of including in your coding portfolio.
Codecademy has, in addition to the aforementioned litany of features, a robust and incredibly helpful support system. While there doesn't seem to be a direct support number to call, it has a host of other ways you can get help on any potential issue while working on a course.
The equivalent of a chat option. By selecting the “Get Help” category, a student can chat with instructors as well as other students in the forums in order to answer any questions on a particular exercise or problem.
Because the help options are in the form of a forum, students can actually peruse older answers in order to see if their question had already been answered by someone else at an earlier time.
The sections can be searched for using various tags as well as choosing forums from latest to most recent. They can range from general meta conversations about Codecademy itself, to questions on Python or HTML programming, to even general programming questions that are non-specific to any of the other categories.
The support section also has a community category where you can chat with other students and learners while also being able to practice your coding skills. As the name states, it is much more of a communal aspect to getting assistance rather than a direct question and answer as is the “Get Help” area.
In the “Projects” area of the support community, students are able to share their projects with one another and get feedback as well as learn what they can do to improve.
Finally, the FAQ section offers direct answers to specific, frequently asked questions by the Codecademy admin.
Global Learning Community
The online coding platform has an amazing and robust global community that goes well beyond the standard classroom structure.
As mentioned earlier, programmers and students alike can gather in many of the different forums on the site in order to share content, resources, and experiences with one another, gaining intimate knowledge and a strong communal tie that is simply not found in other online learning platforms.
Not only that, but there are tons of different and very useful blog posts by the Codecademy team, each with a ton of great information.
Because there is no direct face-to-face connection between students and the instructors, the Codecademy team has worked to instead make a very rich online community that spans the globe, offering people everywhere a means, method, and membership in order to achieve their goals in coding.
How Much Does Codecademy Actually Cost?
Codecademy has a number of different price options based on where you are and what you are looking to get out of the platform. Each, while becoming more expensive, progressively includes additional benefits and features to improve your overall coding and programming ability.
The Basic membership plan is, as the name implies, the basic option. This plan is completely free and includes several interactive lessons and daily practices. This doesn't include all of the earlier mentioned benefits and features and is meant more for those that are looking to see if coding and programming is even something that they are interested in.
The Pro membership plan is the option that the vast majority of students and programmers will use. It is the one that has all of the above features and options and is the most beginner-friendly outside of the Basic option.
Rather than paying a one-time fee, Codecademy Pro instead works on a subscription-based model with 2 separate options; monthly and annually.
If you still unsure and would like to slowly transition into the platform's material, there is the Monthly Payment Option. This is a monthly charge of $39.99 and can be canceled at any time if you are no longer satisfied.
If you are someone that is willing to invest a bit more upfront and are certain about the program, it may be worth considering the Annual Payment Option. This is an annual charge of $239.88 (or $19.99 a month).
While the monthly option is cheaper upfront, if you are expecting to use the platform for at least a year, it may be worth paying for the annual amount as it will actually save you $240 over the same amount of time.
The Codecademy Pro Intensive plan is something of a boot camp option for those looking to really step their programming abilities up to the next level. It includes additional benefits and features such as deadlines, extra curriculum, and exams.
As a consequence, it is a bit more on top of your standard monthly or annual plan, costing roughly $199 per Intensive course. In addition, depending on the course subject and complexity, the prices may go higher.
If you are looking to invest in the Codecademy for Business option for you and your team, you'll have to send an inquiry in order to get a specific quote based on the number of people and exactly what you are looking for. Generally, these plans are around $240 per seat, with the minimum number of seats being 5.
It's certainly a bit more costly than the other options and is ideally meant for businesses and companies that are looking to collectively improve the ability of their programmers.
Does Codecademy Provide a Certificate?
While Codecademy does indeed provide certificates upon completion of a course or curriculum, as stated earlier, these certificates are not accredited and hold no significant weight in the business or higher education world.
They do, however, work as a way to signify what courses you have completed as well. Similarly, while they do not hold enough weight to compare with actual accredited programming schools, they can work as a supplemental boost to your portfolio when in tandem with other programming works and accolades.
What Audience will Benefit from Codecademy the Most?
Codecademy does honestly act as a benefit for every person looking to improve their coding and programming skills.
That said, it is without question most beneficial and suited for individuals that are new to coding and coding languages. The platform's welcoming and beginner-friendly materials work to greatly ease a new programmer into the world of computer and computer science with easy language and terminologies, a step-by-step guide, and a thriving community where you can chat with other like-minded people that are similarly on their journey to becoming a great computer programmer.
If you are someone that is looking to get started in the coding world, Codecademy is legitimately one of the best options out there. It is incredibly affordable, very user and beginner-friendly, and has a great and ever-growing community of programmers that are willing to help one another. If you are someone that is already an expert coder, Codecademy may not have enough to entice you, but for everyone else, there really isn't an all-around better service out there.