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    CodeCademy Review in 2020

    A bird’s-eye view

    Overview

    This CodeCademy review is one of many in a qualitative analysis comparing popular Learn to Code platforms using 6 categories, each with 5 distinct grades. This is a bird’s-eye view, rather than a comprehensive dissection of CodeCademy.

    For a brief summary, jump to Final Words.

    Who is CodeCademy Great for?^

    • Beginners who enjoy learning within a rigid structure.
    • Beginners who enjoy learning within interactive, yet artificially safe coding challenges.
    • Beginners who enjoy very active discussion forums.

    Cost^

    3Most courses are less than US$40/month.
    Cost category and grading details

    CodeCademy offers their most basic courses for free. Going beyond the basics costs US$40/month for their Pro membership. Their few real-world projects and computer science courses are only available their Pro membership.

    Teacher Feedback^

    2Consistently active community exists where another student will likely respond to your query.
    Teacher Feedback category and grading details

    CodeCademy does not offer formal teacher feedback in any form, but you can get feedback from other students in their very active discussion forums. They used to offer live coaching sessions for an additional fee, but this feature is no longer available.

    Range of Tools^

    2Most tools from the basket of tools are not covered.
    Range of Tools category and grading details

    CodeCademy offers courses on the major programming languages and frameworks, but selection is very limited as their target audience is beginners.

    Computer Science^

    3Complex data structures covered in some courses.
    Computer Science category and grading details

    CodeCademy has courses that dive into complex data structures and path-finding algorithms. However, they’re taught within their artificially safe beginner environments, limiting a learner’s opportunity for experimentation and exposure to real-world situations.

    Real-World Projects^

    3Real-world projects are presented with a description or walkthrough, but are not a primary objective of courses.
    Real-World Projects category and grading details

    CodeCademy refers to many coding challenges within its beginner friendly coding environments as projects. It’s difficult to find projects that are explicitly designed to be completed outside of CodeCademy (what they call going off-platform). The few that do exist are project instructions using Jupyter Notebook with fill-in-the-blank quizzes to assess successful completion. Several tiers of projects only become available after progressing through the challenges — enforcing CodeCademy’s relatively rigid learning path. CodeCademy has also very recently introduced video walkthroughs of some courses.

    Beginner Environments^

    4Beginner-friendly coding environment available providing artificially helpful error messages after submitting each mini-challenge.
    Beginner Environments category and grading details

    CodeCademy provides artificially safe, interactive, beginner environments for learning to code better than anyone else. They run tests against each interactive stage of their courses, catching errors with helpful hints that would never be provided by the underlying architecture in the real world. This is an area where CodeCademy excels.

    Final Words^

    CodeCademy’s rigid learning structure is great for complete beginners. Their free, interactive beginner environments are what initially brought prominence to the platform. Now, a majority of their courses are behind a pay-wall, including their new real-world project walkthroughs.

    CodeCademy — one of the best platforms for people who have never touched a line of code before.


    Authors

    Twitter

    Sam Malayek works in London for Thought Machine, and uses this space to fill in a few gaps.