Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.

Codecademy vs. Udemy

4 min read

When starting the journey to learn to code, many people will ask me, “Which do you recommend: Codecademy or Udemy?” Because of all of the choices out there, figuring out the differences between platforms and selecting the right one for you is certainly a challenge.

Here at One Month we suggest our students learn from a variety of different sources! For example, students may benefit from watching coding videos at Udemy or One Month, while also using Codecademy for their free coding tutorials.

With that said, every platform has it’s pros and cons, and some are better suited for certain types of learners. To help cut through the noise, I’ve taken a look at two options that students often compare: Codecademy vs. Udemy.

A Brief Overview of Codecademy vs. Udemy

Before I get into the nitty gritty, here’s a high-level overview of the two:

Codecademy

  • Languages: 12 including Ruby, Java, Sass, HTML and more.
  • Price: Codecademy offers both free and premium courses
  • Year Founded: 2011
  • Number of students: Codecademy had served over 45 million students.
  • Curriculum: Designed and published by Codecademy
  • Structure: Classes are packaged together in “paths,” which each path having the feel of an online coding curriculum.
  • User-Interface: In-browser code editors.Prompts and text instructions without videos.

Udemy

  • Languages: Udemy covers a variety of languages from Node.js to C++, Java, Python, and more.
  • Price: The average Udemy courses is listed at $99 and discounted to $9.
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Number of students: Over 10 million people have taken a Udemy class as of 2016.
  • Curriculum: Individual freelance instructors (without oversight from Udemy) design their courses
  • Structure: A marketplace of classes from which students choose individual courses.
  • User-Interface:  Udemy doesn’t have in-browser text editing like Codecademy. Which is good because you’ll be using real world tools with Udemy, but because each course comes with it’s own instructor you can’t guarantee that the tools, or tone of the instructor, will will be standardized across courses.

Codecademy Review

learn to code with codecademy?

Codecademy’s classes are bundled into paths. Class topics range from mastering web development via HTML/CSS and JavaScript to learning data science through Python and SQL. For those who are unsure about what specific skills they need, Codecademy makes figuring that out a cinch through its pre-packaged courses.

Unlike Udemy, Codecademy only offers courses related to coding. While all courses are focused on skills, Codecademy Pro offers a laser focus on “programs that deliver job-ready, tangible outcomes.” Pro courses also include expert feedback on students’ code as well as certification and “real-world” projects.

One major drawback of Codecademy, though, is its unique code editor.

Because students are learning in an environment that Codecademy created rather than the real-life environments (like Sublime) in which programmers code, the transition from learning at Codecademy to working as a programmer out in the world one can be a bumpy one. However, it does offer a cleaner interface than Udemy and allows for in-browser code editing, which is a bonus.

Is Codecademy Free?

Sort of. Codecademy used to be 100% free, but not the only free courses are a few of the beginner courses. Most courses fall under their Codecademy Pro plan. When you start you may start for free, but shortly after you’ll be asked to upgrade to premium. Codecademy offers monthly, semi-annual, and annual payment options that are on average $29.99/month.

Is Codecademy good?

I like how the classes are designed to keep students moving toward a specific goals. In my own teaching I’ve found that having specific goals for students leads to higher rate of success. You don’t want finish the entire course and then wonder, “What did I just learn?”

If you can keep up the motivation to complete the entire course you’ll definitive learn some wonderful new skills. “Take the concepts it teaches you to heart. You will (generally, meaning basically almost always… these days) use the same concepts across all major languages,” a reddit user explains.

But sometimes Codecademy is too theoretical. Which is why my co-founder Mattan Griffel wrote this post, “Why Codecademy Didn’t Work for Me” Griffel writes,

Admittedly, it was pretty cool. There was a novelty of being able to type code into my browser and immediately see what it did. But the novelty wore off fast. I was learning about stuff like variables, strings, and “for loops” – but pretty soon I found myself wondering, “How is knowing any of this going to help me build what I want to build?

Millions of people have taken Codecademy courses, but did millions of them actually learn how to code? Not exactly.

I think that’s why Codecademy now offeres a premium plan. There’s also the platform’s network of coaches, advisors, and graduates available to answer questions and otherwise interact with students, so it’s less of an isolated learning experience. The list of Codecademy Forums—where students can connect, get help, and share experiences with coding—is extensive.

Udemy Review

learn to code with udemy

Udemy offers over 100,000 online courses, each with lifetime access which means you can complete courses as slowly or as quickly as you’d like. Students with busy lives outside of their coding ambitions, or those who don’t have multiple available weeks in a row to take a Codecademy Pro course that comes with time constraints, will enjoy the flexibility Udemy offers.

Another contrast is that Udemy offers courses across a variety of disciplines. Interested in coding but also want to learn about grammar or perhaps wander into the realm of personal development? Udemy has courses for that, too.

Is Udemy Free?

No. Classes range from $19.99 to $199.99 with frequent sales and promotions that often bring prices down to $9.99.

Is Udemy a good place to learn to code?

In contrast to Codecademy, Udemy is comprised of one-off classes that rely heavily on video instruction. This works best if you have the time to watch the videos, and if you can find an instructor you like. Since anyone can create and upload a class to Udemy, quality can vary.

As one reddit user put it,

Udemy can be good, you just need to make sure the course you choose is a good one. There may be several that say they are [intro] courses, but either the material is for intermediate students, or the instructor just isn’t very good.

If you find a course for $9 on Udemy that might be a great place to start. The problem many people run into with Udemy is actually completing the course! Research shows that over 95% of people who sign up for online courses never complete more than a few videos. Based on my own personal experience as a Udemy students, I can definitely agree. It’s difficult to stay motivated and engaged for such a long period of time.

Conclusion: Codecademy vs. Udemy: Which Should You Choose?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal preferences, and learning style.

At Udemy you’ll find dozens of courses where you beginners can learn Python. On one hand having so many options is nice, but it presents a sort of paradox of choice. Udemy courses aren’t standardized, meaning that the teachers and quality vary from course to course vary.

Codecademy is the opposite—they only offer one course per coding language (e.g. there’s a path to learn Python, Ruby, PHP, etc.). I usually tell my students,

Think of Codecademy as online coding exercises.” It’s great to supplement your work at a coding bootcamp or taking an online coding course, but on its own Codecademy won’t teach you how to build a real-world projects.

Like Codecademy and Udemy, One Month offers online coding courses where you can learn Python, JavaScript and HTML.  What makes One Month different? Whereas Udemy is a marketplace of videos, and Codecademy offers online coding exercises, One Month is an online school with grading, certification, and human support along the way.  

No matter where you are on your journey, we encourage you to create your own education using a variety of books, courses, and mentors. Codecademy is a great place to start doing some free exercises. Udemy is a cheap way to dip your foot into coding. We’re here and happy to help you make a decision along the way —  please leave any questions you have down below. 

 

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Chris Castiglione Teacher at One Month. Faculty at Columbia University where I teach Digital Literacy. I write about coding, the internet, and social impact.

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