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Codecademy Review 2021: Course Quality, Pricing, Pros And Cons, And More

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updated Sep 22, 2021

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One of the most difficult parts of learning to code is knowing where to learn.

If you are teaching yourself how to code, you may have come across Codecademy.

This popular online learning platform offers browser-based courses, learning paths, and certifications in subjects such as web development, machine learning, and data science.

So, is Codecademy worth it?

In this Codecademy review, we’ll cover the most essential things you should know about learning to code on Codecademy, including Codecademy pricing, topics taught, key features of the platform, ease of use, content quality, and more.

Let’s jump right in!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. But please, only buy products you believe will help you achieve your goals faster. Thank you for your support!

Table of contents

Here is a quick overview of the points we’ll cover today:

What is Codecademy?

To get started, let’s take a brief look at Codecademy as a company. It’s a good idea to know a few key facts about the website and the people behind it to know if it’s the right platform for you.

Codecademy is an online learning platform founded in 2011. The company is based in New York, and specializes in tech-related topics, mostly coding.

Codecademy - Learn to code online

You can start learning for free, but a paid Codecademy Pro plan unlocks more content, portfolio-ready projects, and certifications.

Codecademy offers courses in 14 different programming languages that you can take at your own pace.

For example, you can learn popular languages like Python or JavaScript – both in high demand in the job market.

Codecademy pros and cons (Quick summary)

Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons when learning on Codecademy:

Pros of Codecademy

  • Lots of free courses
  • Browser-based, easy to start – no need to install and set up software on your computer
  • Hands-on lessons – you start writing code instantly and learn by doing instead of watching videos
  • Pro membership affordable compared to other paid platforms and courses
  • Sorting quiz for beginners – find out what your strengths are, and find recommended courses that fit you best

Cons of Codecademy

  • No advanced search with filters for courses
  • Free resources lack depth
  • Only available online
  • Subscription-based pricing (no lifetime access)

What can you learn on Codecademy?

Codecademy offers a massive selection of courses ranging from programming languages like JavaScript to higher-level subjects like data science or mobile development, for example.

Codecademy - Learn to code for free

The current course catalog covers 15 popular markup and programming languages: HTML, CSS, Python, JavaScript, Java, SQL, Bash/Shell, Ruby, C++, R, C#, PHP, Go, Swift, and Kotlin.

The subjects taught currently include:

  • Web Development
  • Web Design
  • Data Science
  • Computer Science
  • Developer Tools
  • Machine Learning
  • Code Foundations
  • Game Development
  • Mobile Development
  • Data Visualization
  • Interview Prep
  • Cybersecurity

You can find the full course catalog here.

How Codecademy works: Key features

Each coding course platform is a bit different, and Codecademy has a few key features you should try out and get familiar with. Here are a few highlights:

Sorting quiz

The quick Sorting Quiz helps you determine your strengths and find the most suitable skills to learn.

You will answer a few simple questions, and the results show you recommended learning paths and resources that match your goals and interests.

Codecademy Sorting Quiz

Learning paths

Codecademy Pro unlocks a selection of structured skill and career paths with a curated curriculum of targeted courses and skills you need to get job-ready.

You can currently choose from 8 career paths:

Quizzes

Included in Pro, quizzes are an easy way to track your progress and test your skills.

Blog articles

The Codecademy blog is a fantastic place to learn more about the fundamentals of programming and tech in general.

Codecademy Blog – Learning tips

Supportive community

You can find help, get feedback on your projects, and connect with other students on the Codecademy Forums.

Also, you can study career questions, read success stories, and share your project ideas with others here.

Codecademy Forums

Free cheat sheets

Use the massive selection of free cheatsheets as a go-to reference for the fundamentals for any skill you are learning.

Print them out for offline learning or access them online as you go through your course contents.

Codecademy Cheatsheets

Ease of use: Is Codecademy good for beginners?

If you are new to coding, it can be difficult to know where to start.

You want to find a learning platform that allows you to start writing code almost instantly.

With most courses and tutorials, you need to set up and configure your coding environment before you can start.

With front-end languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, this isn’t the case.

But if you have learned Python, Ruby, or PHP, you know what I’m talking about.

You may spend hours installing software, configuring compilers, and getting your server up and running.

Luckily, Codecademy makes things much easier for you.

All of their lessons are browser-based. You don’t need to install or set up anything on your computer. All you need is a web browser, and you are good to go.

Hence, Codecademy is perfect for complete beginners. You can create a free account here and start writing code in 2 minutes.

Sign up for Codecademy

All in all, Codecademy is the right place for you if:

  • You have never tried a coding tutorial before
  • You want an easy learning experience
  • You want to start learning for free

And if you feel like coding is your thing, you can take care of the technical setup later.

Next, let’s talk about the Codecademy course catalog.

The catalog is easy to navigate, and you can sort the courses by languages and subjects taught.

For each language, you will see a quick intro, and a few reasons to start learning it. Also, you will see a quick overview with:

  • Recommended courses
  • Featured resources
  • Beginner-friendly and intermediate courses
JavaScript courses on Codecademy

When you click on a specific course to see more details, the course homepage is pretty clear, too. You will see:

  • Benefits of learning this tool
  • Key take-away skills
  • Time you will need to finish the course
  • Projects you will create
Learn JavaScript - Free coding course on Codecademy

If you are new to coding, this clear layout helps you understand what you’re getting into.

But what’s missing is an advanced search with a filtering option. For example, you can’t filter the results to see free courses only.

Codecademy content quality

If you are serious about learning to code, you need to find a course with top-notch content. Especially if you are new to tech, you want content that’s easy enough to understand, but difficult enough to keep you interested.

Codecademy does a great job at offering up-to-date course content to their students.

However, not all of it is available for free. For some languages, you will see plenty of free courses, but a few languages offer very limited free content.

For example, you can learn Python 2 for free, but the Python 3 course is only available to Pro members.

This brings us to the question: “Is Codecademy Pro worth it?”

Let’s look at pricing next.

Codecademy pricing

Codecademy is a subscription-based platform with two pricing options:

The Basic plan is 100% free. You can sign up within seconds, and get instant access to interactive introductory lessons.

Codecademy Pro is a paid subscription with two billing options:

  • $39.99/month when paid monthly
  • $239.88 when paid annually – that’s $19.99/month, saving you $240 compared to 12 months with the monthly billing cycle
Codecademy Pricing

Attention students: If you are a student, you may be eligible to a 35% discount on Pro plans. Click here for more details.

Is Codecademy Pro worth it?

So should you invest in a Pro plan? Is Codecademy Pro worth it?

You may be wondering what the exact difference is between the free and the paid plans. While the free tutorials are a great way to learn the basics, they do lack depth.

Also, they don’t really show you how to apply what you learn to real coding projects of your own. So you may end up going through a dozen lessons, but at the end you don’t know what to do next.

The Pro membership offers a more hands-on approach.

Is Codecademy Pro worth it

Here are a few points you should consider before investing in a Codecademy Pro plan:

  • The Pro plans don’t just unlock “more” content and tutorials. The true value comes from the opportunities to apply your skills to practical, real-world projects. Hence, you will learn how to create something useful and valuable.
  • Pro allows you to build projects that you can add straight to your developer portfolio. Thus, you will have hands-on work samples to showcase to potential employers when you start applying for jobs.
  • The curated Career Paths and Skill Paths allow you to set a clear goal and learn the necessary skills one by one to achieve it. You will know exactly what to do next at all times. This is a massive advantage for teaching yourself the most relevant skills for your dream career.

If you are new to coding, I recommend that you start with the free resources. Get a basic understanding of what coding is about and what you could create with it.

If you feel motivated to learn more and are willing to put in the effort to start a career in tech, consider investing in paid resources. They usually offer a better overall learning experience. You get carefully curated content, more hands-on, portfolio-ready projects, and better support.

It’s a good idea to at least try Codecademy Pro and see how you like it. You can try it for free with a 7-day trial, and then decide whether you want to upgrade.

Codecademy Pro benefits

Learning experience

Whether you want to get a Pro plan or not, I want to walk you through the overall learning experience on Codecademy.

But remember that this is simply my perception of things. We all have different preferences, so what works for me may not be the best thing for you and vice versa. So, take this part with a grain of salt.

What I love about Codecademy is the low barrier to start learning. You can sign up in 1 minute, pick a course, and start learning instantly.

The interactive learning interface is pretty easy to understand. Here’s the general view you’ll see when going through your lessons:

Codecademy learning experience

The screen has three parts:

  • On the left, you see the “theory” part of your lesson. Start by reading through this.
  • In the middle, you have a simple text editor where you will type your code.
  • On the right, you see the output of your code when you run it.

Hence, you will start writing code right away. Even if this is your first time coding, don’t worry. The left-hand side intro text explains the basics and points to helpful resources if you have any questions.

When you’ve typed in your code, you can click Run at the bottom of your code editor to see if you got it right. You will see the output on the right, and helpful tips for fixing any errors.

I’m a big fan of this interface since it’s an all-in-one set of tools you need. With the intro text on the left, you don’t have to jump back and forth between different references and sources.

You can see your course progress on your own account page. That’s where you will find all the courses you’ve started, and can continue learning from where you left off last time.

All in all, the learning experience is smooth and easy for complete beginners, too.

However, I noticed occasional problems with the connection. Sometimes the code editor took a while to load, but I’m not sure whether it’s my own connection or if the problem is at Codecademy’s end.

Is Codecademy right for you?

You want to learn tech skills, but are not sure whether Codecademy is right for you?

Here are a few examples of who is the perfect fit for learning new skills on the platform:

  • Absolute beginners – If you know nothing about tech, Codecademy can teach you all the basics for free
  • Anyone with a bit of coding experience in the past
  • People who learn best with hands-on exercises, instead of watching tutorial videos
  • People who want to learn independently at their own pace
  • Anyone who needs a structured, easy-to-follow learning path

Since you can start learning for free, you have nothing to lose, really. If you are new to coding, you may want to compare Codecademy to another platform, and pick the one you prefer.

Codecademy alternatives

Here are a few popular Codecademy alternatives:

Team Treehouse:
If you prefer video lectures for learning, check out Team Treehouse. Just like Codecademy, they offer subscription-based courses in tech and design. Costs $25/month – $49/month.

Udemy:
Unlike Codecademy, Udemy offers standalone courses from individual instructors. You can learn anything on Udemy, but pay attention to content quality, i.e. ratings and reviews from past students. Learn more in my Udemy review.

Pluralsight:
Choose from 6,000+ tech-only courses with a single subscription at $29/month. If you already have some coding experience, take the Skill IQ test to find out which courses fit your skill level.

Coursera:
Offers a wider range of topics and courses than Codecademy. Instructors come from leading universities worldwide, so the learning experience is more academic. You will get full access to their 3,000+ courses, hands-on projects, and certificate programs with a subscription at $59/month or $399/year.

Summing it up: Is Codecademy right for you?

If you are new to coding, it can be difficult to know where to start learning.

There are so many platforms and course to choose from, and all of them are a bit different.

It all boils down to one thing: you want to find a learning platform that supports your learning style. If you like learning at your own pace and prefer text-based tutorials, Codecademy might be your thing.

But if you learn better by watching video tutorials, you may want to look for an alternative, such as Udemy or Team Treehouse.

The courses on Codecademy are a great introduction to programming. But you will probably want to complement them with other resources, especially when your skills improve.

I hope you found a few helpful tips in this Codecademy review. If you haven’t tried Codecademy yet, I suggest you start right now. The best way to find out if it’s the right platform for you is to give it a go.

Ready to start?

Sign up for Codecademy here – it’s free – and start with the HTML intro course, for example. Also, remember to try the free trial of Codecademy Pro!

Happy learning!
– Mikke

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About Mikke

Hi, I’m Mikke! I’m a blogger, freelance web developer, and online business nerd. Join me here on MikkeGoes.com to learn how to code for free, build a professional portfolio website, launch a tech side hustle, and make money coding. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come say hi on Twitter!

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